Saturday, November 26, 2011



In the 1980's, if you did not have biceps that were the size of a basketball, abs that were considered 12 packs, carried a machine gun the size of Mount  Rushmore which you could run, leap and jump while hitting a moving target in a single bound. If your last name wasn't Stallone, Schwarzenegger or Van Damme, you pretty much were not an "action star" even though there was a once in a blue moon oddity like the scrawny average Joe 'John McClane' popping up now and again.

Google Images: Arnold, Sly & Willis
 Now it is 2011 and the action stars are...females?  Yes females and they are all different ages, shapes and sizes. From Angelina Jolie's 'Laura Croft', 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' and 'Salt' to Dame Helen Mirren's 'Red', this latest batch of X chromosome action heroes that are kicking butt and taking names. 

Both the 'Twilight' franchise (a love story) and recently the movie 'Bridesmaids' (a comedy) have even shown Hollywood that a predominately female fan base, with the right story, can dominate the box office without gun fights, car chases, fancy wizards, spaceships, 3D used to boost ticket sales or explosions and still be extremely successful and profitable.

With 2012 on the horizon, there will be plenty of kick-ass ladies gracing the screen.  The Guardian takes a look at the upcoming crop of female-oriented action films which includes none other than 'Snow White and the Huntsman' starring Kristen Stewart. 

"Hanna and Sucker Punch proved we no longer need sweaty middle-aged male leads screaming, 'Not my daughter!' But who's the toughest of this new crop?'
The Guardian goes on to describe SWATH this way:
Bella from Twilight's got some theoretical balls and a sword in this 2012 release. The sheer amount of mud in the trailer tells us this girl's not afraid to get her hands – or hair! – dirty. A true heroine for the L'OrĂ©al generation. Although Charlize Theron's evil queen has ordered the Huntsman to kill Snow White because she's hotter. Typical girls, eh?

We do not know how typical it is but one thing that is not typical is all of the action movies having females as their lead characters next year.  However, not all films are created equal.  Although the media is touting 'The Hunger Games' as the next blockbuster trilogy, SWATH appears to have the upper hand so far with more buzz and intrigue. 

Universal Pictures has begun to rolled out a campaign introducing the public with an unforgettable and some would say, a squeeworthy teaser trailer, an offer for a fan set visit, media set visits, personal introductions of the trailer in the UK and New Zealand by 'Snow White' (Kristen Stewart) and 'The Huntsman'  (Chris Hemsworth), poster contests, billboards, theater posters and even a peek at the teaser trailer currently being seen at the movie theaters.  However, not one of the films listed by The Guardian has taken such grand PR steps to date.

Although The Guardian provided a list of the female lead character action movies coming out next year, one major omission on their list was 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2' which will entail 'Bella' (using The Guardian's words) having "theoretical balls".  'Bella' [Kristen Stewart] is now a vampire and becomes the best one of them all as a fighter and protector of the Cullen Coven against the evil Volturi.  So, The Guardian will actually see Stewart having "theoretical balls" in two major films next year.

As Hollywood usually does, it believes there is a magic formula and will try to duplicate successes i.e. 'Happy Feet 2', then wonder why the public did not respond accordingly.

'The Hunger Games' is based on a Young Adult novel like 'Twilight' with the lead character being a female, Katniss, played by Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence.  Hollywood believes this is a formula that will work. 

The film has a strong fanbase however, it could be in danger of failing to live up to expectations particularly following the end of the 'Harry Potter' series and with the 'Twilight' franchise winding down. If Lawrence does not lead it to break box office records, will become a failure? Will it be a mark against female-led action films particularly one promoted so highly to be the heir apparent?  Unfortunately this may be so since both of the previous franchises did just that...break records. The original 'Twilight' even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.  The pressure is on, however, time will soon tell. 

Take a look at the female action film trailers provided by The Guardian here and decide who'll be carrying the big gun at the box office in 2012.


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