Captain Marvel’s Box Office Milestone Proves Your Petty Boycotts Don’t Matter
She really had nothing to prove to you.
Today, Captain Marvel passed another box office milestone: $1 billion in total gross. This comes after angry fanboys said that it would flop, that Brie Larson’s comments about wanting more inclusivity on the press tour meant she and Disney hated white men, and that Disney was buying tickets to fill up empty theaters.
A lot of outlets, The Mary Sue included, gave a lot of coverage to the outrage that came from a vocal minority of internet dwellers. Meanwhile, in the physical world, nothing quite stopped Captain Marvel from becoming a box office success.
However, with the box office success of Captain Marvel, it might be time to re-examine giving so much coverage to what ultimately will not amount to an actual movement that impacts the final product. The coverage was more than the boycott amounted to be, and I am including TMS in that particular callout.
Consider the “backlash” to The Last Jedi. While there are some very legitimate complaints about the film, especially with how it treats Finn and Poe, the generalized “women and characters of color in the lead mean the film hates white people” and “not my Luke Skywalker” complaints didn’t really impact the film’s overall box office, which has been proven many times, including a mention on a recent Disney shareholders call.
Interestingly enough, there was similar backlash to The Force Awakens after it was revealed that the leads would be Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. The backlash, especially aimed at Boyega, wound up not costing the film very much, as it broke records. Black Panther also faced an attempt to review bomb the film with bad audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
Similarly, Captain Marvel faced trolls calling for a boycott after Brie Larson called for a more inclusive press tour. Accusing her of hating white men, plenty of YouTubers posted theories that Disney secretly hated her and the film, that they were trying to cover their losses by buying tickets, and that the film was underperforming and slowing down. Never mind that it was part of the highly successful MCU, the first MCU film lead by a woman and co-directed by a woman, and the lead-up to the incredibly anticipated Avengers: Endgame, and therefore was all but guaranteed to succeed.
At this point in time, acknowledging that the trolling is happening is one thing, but we as a community need to stop giving press to the bad apples. This only amplifies their voices, and makes it seem as though the movement is larger than it is. By de-platforming the trolls, we’ll more successfully get them to stop, rather than shining a light on their behavior and giving them the attention they want.
The boycott of Captain Marvel doesn’t matter. The boycotts of Star Wars probably won’t matter. These films will make money at the box office, proving again and again that inclusion doesn’t drag films down, but rather lifts them up. In the meantime, we as a film criticism community probably should stop giving them so much attention and see if that helps them crawl back into the comments section from whence they came.
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