Get Woke, Go Broke: Why ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Fell to Earth

Tom Luongo at the Gold, Goats & Guns blog recently penned this response to the Charlie’s Angels bomb, and we wanted to share it here.




Normally I wouldn’t give a cynical piece of schlock like the latest Hollywood reboot like Charlie’s Angels a second thought. In fact, I hadn’t given it any thought whatsoever until I saw it flop completely at the box office to my complete lack of surprise.


But it was the inane and insipid comments from the “film’s” writer and director, Elizabeth Banks, that really caught my attention.


Michael McCaffrey writing for pulled them all together in one really good article which goes over the string of ‘Woke Flops’ at the box office of the past few years. But this one is the choice one, highlighting how complete Ms. Banks’ solipsism is.


“Look, people have to buy tickets to this movie, too. This movie has to make money. If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.”


It didn’t.


And it isn’t because men don’t go see women in action movies. Lest we forget that the first Charlie’s Angels foray on film (not a uniquely terrible experience, unlike its sequel) was a surprise hit in 2000 making more than $264 million worldwide.


McCaffrey points out recent successes like Wonder Woman ($821 million) and the inexplicable response to Captain Marvel ($1.128 billion). In fact, I would say that of all these films that explicitly pander to feminism and are more woke than stroke, Captain Marvel is the only real success.



And I would chalk that up to the timing of the juggernaut that was Marvel Studios than it was the strength of the movie itself.


Which leads me to Ms. Banks’ second honker of a comment.


“They (men) will go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre.”


Nope. Sorry. I’m one of the world’s biggest DC comics nerds going. I suffered through seasons 4 through 6 of Arrow for pity’s sake. I’ve earned my stripes. And under no circumstances could you have dragged me into a theater to see Halle Berry stink up the screen as Catwoman ($82 million).


A movie so terrible it is forever linked in my mind with one of the greatest lines in film criticism’s history, from Walter Chaw at


A scene where she rubs catnip rapturously over her face is destined to become as legendary as a one-on-one basketball courtship sequence between she {Berry} and {Benjamin} Bratt that’s shot with such blazing, incandescent incompetence that dogs will try to roll in it.


He may have been wrong about the scene in question, but his line about it, for me, is near perfection. Mr. Chaw himself is so woke that I’m sure he would be horrified to find his work being quoted by a deplorable sub-human like me. But, what can I say, the guy has a way with words.


All of this must seem churlish of me at this point to point these things out to someone with such obvious first-world problems like Elizabeth Banks.


CHARLIE'S ANGELS - Official Trailer (HD)


But, trust me, there’s a larger point to be made here.


The truth is that people don’t go to the movies to be talked down to. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, selling free-range eggs at a farmer’s market or a $90 million movie, your customer doesn’t like being being treated with condescension. Worse, they don’t like being treated with derision.


And Ms. Banks’ comments about her movie and what it says are both of those things writ large.


At the end of the day it is your job to figure out who your audience is and tailor your product to hit that audience. And what Ms. Banks just found out is that the audience for her brand of bad-ass women who need a man like a fish needs a bicycle is pretty friggin’ small.


You can’t build your story based on your political propaganda, in this case, feminism, and expect people to respond to it. And the reason is that it simply isn’t true at the symbolic level. And people don’t watch movies at the conscious level. It’s all sub-conscious.


Even the Communist writers in the 1950’s (brilliantly lampooned in the Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar!) knew that they had to embed their message as sub-text, as setting, rather than as the foundations of Story otherwise it wouldn’t get past the executives, who understood their audiences very very well.


The audience always knows when they are being talked down to.


And even though Captain Marvel made more than a billion dollars, I’m hard-pressed among my geek-heavy group of friends to find anyone who actually liked it. They went because it was the next Marvel movie and they were invested in them.


Let’s see if Captain Wokeness can lead where Tony Stark did. My guess, not happening.


There was string of these films that were put on the schedule in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017. And they are a clear example of Hollywood trying to regain some trust with its audience, saying, “See! We don’t all treat women like shit! Believe us!”


But that’s even worse than just making honest movies with women leads. It’s pandering and pathetic. It’s the response of beta-male accountants and scared executives. Many of these movies came out this year and last and they have all flopped.


No one wants what they’re selling.


Because no one believes Hollywood is sincere.


Read the whole post here.

Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Current captain of this ship o' fools who is rapidly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'