Those of you who follow us for a longer time might know that most of us are located in the Netherlands. While this has advantages, the cheese is excellent for example, it recently had some downsides. For the film lovers among us, we had to bear the bad news that Disney will not release A Wrinkle In Time. This follows the female-fronted Annihiliation getting a straight-to-Netflix release, despite good reviews. It is understandable that studios might want to ensure they do not lose out on the big bucks. At the same time, it is rather disappointing that these films do not even get a shot. I mean, Bruce Willis’ Death Wish was released here. And let’s be fair, who even asked for that?
Let’s take a look at why the lack of world-wide releases for these films is not good news.
Annihilation was marketed as a sci-fi horror film, starring Natalie Portman among other high-profile stars. One of the most noteworthy things about this film was the mainly female cast. While this should not be a big thing in 2018, it is still rare to see only females on a poster. While the mid-budget film received a theatrical release in the United States, China and Canada, the rest of the world found the film on Netflix a mere 17 days after its theatrical release. It’s a rather strange strategy, despite the fact that Netflix has moved into the big-budget original films.
Apparently test audiences were not a fan of the film and the executive producer, David Ellison, asked for changes to be made in order to simplify the film. However, Alex Garland, the director, refused. To appease everyone involved, Paramount decided to release it in three territories, while Netflix streamed it to audiences at home. The goal is to cut the losses. But why did Annihilation fail to make an impact on the American crowds? Well, apparently the film was too brainy. Oh, and the mostly female cast is not deemed bankable enough.
This is a bad development in a time when such progress is made. It appears that the fear of having females lead a film is still instilled deep into the roots of Hollywood. Even a female-led film like Tomb Raider is filled to the brim with testosterone. It’s a shame, because we need more female-driven films in a world that still undermines women.
A Wrinkle In Time
This one came as more of a shock. A Wrinkle In Time received mixed reviews at the US box office, yet still managed to do reasonably well. Sure, it failed to top Black Panther, but all the headlines stating that A Wrinkle In Time lost to Black Panther are bullshit. After all, this is the first time in so long that two blockbusters feature a largely black cast. A Wrinkle In Time shows young black girls that they too can be smart and destroy darkness. The film was an ambituous project, considering its source material. But while critics were divided, the film did manage to do one important thing. It made little girls of all skin colours feel seen.
I was surprised when I found out that Disney refuses to release the film in Dutch and Belgian theatres. It wasn’t even properly announced. While the original release date was set on the 4th of April, only a small note on the theatres websites stated that the film would no longer be released. This is peculiar, considering the fact that other countries do get a release. Disney has not provided a reason for not releasing the film over here. Perhaps Disney believes that a film led by POC actors and mainly females would not be a success here. This is remarkable considering Black Panther managed to break records in the Netherlands.
It is a huge missed opportunity, considering young (POC) girls here should also get the opportunity to see themselves represented on screen. The fact that Disney tries to sweep the whole film under the rug is even more offensive. Many here have been looking forward to the release of this film for a long time.
While Black Panther paved the way for more films featuring black actors, it seems like Hollywood is still not sold on how successful a female-led film can be. The treatment of Annihilation and A Wrinkle In Time is not a good indication for the future. Hopefully the all-female reboot of Ocean’s 8 will turn out to be a huge success. It is what us females need and deserve.