"Chick flicks" face uphill battle in Hollywood

Fri Aug 8, 2008 4:33pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Syantani Chatterjee

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When "Sex and the City" debuted at No. 1 at box offices earlier this year, headlines trumpeted the unusual success of a film about women aimed at women, and industry watchers forecast more of the same ahead.

But female writers, directors and producers say the blockbuster is an exception to the general Hollywood rule that films about women get second-class treatment compared with big-budget action flicks like the Batman movie "The Dark Knight," which is aimed at young men.

These women see business-as-usual for Hollywood, and that means fewer movies focused on women's lives.

Underlying the dilemma for women is that box office prospects for their movies are, generally speaking, seen as less lucrative than for adventures such as "Dark Knight." As a result, the major studios make fewer of them and they get less money for production and marketing.

"Women often are interested in story, true emotions and rounded characters," said Diane English, director of "The Women," set for a September debut. "And often we find action flicks less interesting because they lack those elements."

This week, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" opened in U.S. theaters as the latest example of a girl-oriented film that hopes to become a breakout hit at box offices. It tells of the friendship of four college-age women.

But unlike "Sex," which opened in late May and grossed nearly $375 million worldwide, "Traveling Pants" does not benefit from a built-in audience of a major television hit like HBO comedy "Sex and the City," and Hollywood's studios like to base movies on products with proven audiences.