So, a couple of weeks ago, I was innocently browsing through Twitter on a Sunday morning when I stumbled across something that made me launch my baby tea across the room. One sentence left me in a foul mood. What was it? “All-female remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to go ahead.”
WHY, HOLLYWOOD, WHY?
It felt like some cigar-chomping exec in a slick LA office had personally decided to take a dump on my childhood. (I should explain: my papa used to pick me up from school three times a week and this was one of the few videos he had that I was allowed to watch. I think I’ve seen the film just shy of 1000 times.) Every fond memory I had of laughing until I was sore at Steve Martin asking to go to the bathroom evaporated. Michael Caine’s dazzling smile and slick white suit? Ruined. Apparently, they’re lining up Rebel Wilson to star. The lefty liberals of Twitter have rejoiced at the choice. A woman! In a lead role!
This creeping ‘re-telling’ of cult classics – I’m looking at you Ghostbusters and Oceans Eight – is becoming worryingly more common. They allege that they all about reclaiming roles for females. Pardon my ignorance, but looking back at the careers of the likes of Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn … Has there ever truly been a shortage of leading ladies? And – based on that list alone – of strong females who have absolutely dominated Hollywood? There is a sinister undertone to all these remakes. That women are entitled to these roles because they can somehow give them more intelligence or speak to females in the audience in a way that male actors cannot. Quick update: Having a vagina doesn’t mean you are entitled to ANYTHING. It also doesn’t make you smarter or more credible or more watchable. My own personal opinion is that – given most of these remakes are comedies – you actually struggle to find a decent female comedian.
Let’s not kid ourselves that Hollywood has suddenly found its feminist voice. This is purely a money-making exercise. The market in China has opened up so the easiest way to make a quick buck is not to produce new material, but cobble together a remake. Ironically, this failed in the case of Ghostbusters since China prohibits the presence of the supernatural in films. It’s just lazy, greedy film-making. And I hate it. I fail to see how it has anything to do with feminism. And the worst part is, you just know these films are going to absolutely tank at the box office. (I refer, once again, to Ghostbusters.) Why? Because nobody asked for these remakes. Nobody wants them. If anything, they are doing more to harm the feminist cause by setting up these actresses for an absolute stinker.
Let’s make a point of comparison in cold, hard facts. The original, 1984 Ghostbusters took in $238,632,124 at the US box office, earning $13,512,564 on its opening weekend alone. It achieved all of this on a $30m budget. If you account for inflation, these figures would naturally be much higher. Fast forward to 2016 and Paul Feig et al have spent $144m rehashing the original. It recouped just $128,344,089 with an opening weekend of $46,018,755. So whilst it had a much better opening weekend, those who saw it weren’t impressed and word quickly spread. I really doubt they’ll be playing anniversary editions of that Ghostbusters many Halloweens from now.
These films also don’t seem to understand their own double standards. For instance, the casting of Chris Hemsworth as the ‘eye candy’ in Ghostbusters whilst Richard Armitage has been roped in to Ocean’s Eight. These men are clearly in roles that require them to be ogled or ridiculed. Didn’t these same feminists kick up a fuss when the same thing was being done to them? They’re even ruining Disney. Emma Watson proudly declared that her performance as Belle – in the new, live action Beauty and the Beast – would be a feminist hero. Why? Why does she have to be a feminist? I hate to break it to Ms Watson, but reading books and falling for someone (even if they’re – shock, horror – ugly) doesn’t make you a feminist. What gender imbalance are you addressing here exactly?
Can you imagine if they suggested an all-male remake of Thelma and Louise? There would be outcry: How dare these men attempt to destroy the sisterhood – a film about a bond that was so definitely feminine. Hollywood needs to stop this trend before it really finds its feet and they all start burning their bras in a bid to remove male actors altogether.
These films do not represent feminism. They represent pure, unadulterated CAPITALISM.