Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa in 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Of Course the ‘Furiosa’ Box Office Numbers Have Men Back on Their BS

Men willfully missing the point and blaming poor box office returns on female-led films—where have I seen this before? Oh right, constantly on the internet any time a woman dares to star in a movie. Now they’re doing it for Furiosa.

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There is a conversation going on about why movies are flopping right now that boils down to tickets just being really expensive! That, and the fact that these studios are turning around and throwing their movies on streaming not a month later, so people don’t have to rush out and spend upwards of $30 for just the movie alone. Instead of listening to that conversation and factoring that into the box office reporting, certain men online have decided that Furiosa’s box office total is because women.

First, let me say that Furiosa is the first movie in the Mad Max franchise to debut at #1.

With that in mind, let me show you how these men on Twitter are reacting to the box office. One user with a habit of railing against all things “woke” wrote that Furiosa is the “worst performing film for Memorial Day weekend in 30 years.” That may be true, but what is actually hilarious is that instead of looking at a single conversation about the reasons for that, they acknowledged the good reviews but just decided that the low box office is because “People are sick of female protagonists.”

Don’t worry, it gets so much worse. One X user insisted that Hollywood needs to stop “replacing male legacy characters with women, it’s simple as that,” despite the fact that making a movie about Furiosa doesn’t mean she’s “replacing” Max. There are, unfortunately, tons of similar comments out there, but all of them amount to the same repetitive, sexist nonsense we’ve all heard before.

The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy as a younger Furiosa, and we get to see how she learned to drive a war rig, her connection to Immortan Joe, and what fueled her return to the Green Place. The movie is very good, but movies are just so expensive right now, and to see these men diminishing the conversation about that to say Furiosa isn’t doing well “because no one likes women” is just frustrating.

Furiosa looks over her shoulder while backing up a truck.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Fall Guy and IF were also recently released, and neither of them fared particularly well. The blockbuster energy of The Fall Guy wasn’t enough to keep it in theaters. (It’s already streaming.) There have been some recent successes with movies like Dune: Part Two and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, but for the most part, the box office is just not what it used to be.

Furiosa being a success for the franchise but still having a low box office total isn’t because it stars a woman. It is just the state of the industry right now, regardless of the protagonist’s gender. But turning this into a conversation about “female-led movies” says a lot about the people doing it.

First, it says that they just didn’t watch Fury Road, because the 2015 movie established Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as a hero, and we watched as she worked with Max (Tom Hardy) to survive the Wasteland and take Immortan Joe’s concubines to safety. Furiosa is not a “replacement” for Max. She was literally in a movie with him, and there is even a little Mad Max easter egg in Furiosa!

Dominating a conversation about the economy and the struggling movie theater business with this nonsense that does not come from a place of intelligent discussion just makes me so angry. The biggest movie of last year was Barbie. Give me a BREAK!

So sure, Furiosa isn’t breaking records, but it isn’t because of women. If we want to talk about how you have to get an AMC Stubs plan in order to justify movie prices, that is a much more interesting place to start. But saying, “People are sick of female protagonists,” is just sexist.


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.