Movies by women and for women often do well — very well — at the box office. For example, Elizabeth Banks’ Pitch Perfect 2 had the biggest movie musical opening ever when it debuted with $69.2 million in May, and Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation broke the record for the biggest Valentine’s Day debut with a whopping $85.2 million. But people still act like these successes are just flukes, a trend Shonda Rhimes is tired of seeing perpetuated in the industry.
“The world of movies is fascinating to me because everyone has amnesia all the time,” Rhimes said in a new New York Times Magazine story about women in Hollywood fighting against the industry’s sexism. “Every time a female-driven project is made and succeeds, somehow it’s a fluke. Instead of just saying The Hunger Games is popular among young women, they say it only made money because Jennifer Lawrence was luminous and amazing.”
“There’s a very hungry audience of young women dying to see some movies,” she continued. “They came out for Titanic and Twilight, 14-year-old girls going back to see those movies every day.” In fact, 2008’s Twilight — directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Melissa Rosenberg — had that year’s fourth biggest opening and went on to become 2008’s seventh highest grossing film.
“I find it fascinating that this audience is not being respected,” Rhimes said. “In the absence of water, people drink sand. And that is sad. There’s such an interest in things being equal and such a weary acceptance that it’s not.”
Read the full story over at the Times, which includes quotes from other major Hollywood names, including Meryl Streep.