Read studio e-mail axing female-led sci-fi flick because Sucker Punch bombed

Contributed by
Aug 22, 2013

Movie studios are notorious for making snap decisions when a film of a certain style bombs, and it looks like the failure of Zack Snyder’s dark fantasy flick Sucker Punch has ruined female-led flicks for us all.

The folks at The Mary Sue have published an email sent from an exec at Legendary Pictures to aspiring filmmaker Tara Cardinal, who had recently pitched the female-led fantasy flick Legend of the Red Reaper

Though some structural issues with the story are cited first, the exec then notes that another reason they won’t be taking on any movies in this niche is because (the critically lambasted) Sucker Punch didn’t do well. Because it obviously failed due to having females in the lead roles, not because it was just a bad movie. Riiiiiight.

Here’s the email:

“Thank you for letting me take a look at your script this weekend. While I did enjoy the mythology behind the story, I found myself a little confused with regards to the ‘Red Reaper’ world as a whole. While I was not closely familiar with the world before reading, certain aspects felt either unexplained or redundant — most specifically, illuminating Aella’s past, demonic powers, etc. I feel that it would be difficult to bring on another project with our currently saturated slate of epic fantasy fare, especially without any significant cast/director attachments or large-scale brand recognition. Also, while I am personally drawn to the presence of a female action hero, it is currently a tough sell with the less than stellar way Sucker Punch was received. Ultimately, while I don’t think this is for Legendary, I think the property has potential.”

Ouch. Now, there’s no telling if Cardinal’s script is actually any good, but that’s not the point. Even if it is an ass-kickingly awesome movie, that Sucker Punch-based indictment still stands, and that’s a depressing peek into the mind of a studio exec.

Just because Sucker Punch was a bad movie, and performed as such, doesn’t mean moviegoers don’t want to see ladies in leading roles. With the right property, good casting and a solid script, it can work (most recently, see: The Hunger Games).

Here’s hoping Legendary opens back up to wanting to make some female-led sci-fi. Just because Sucker Punch didn’t work, that doesn’t mean it's impossible. We’ll be watching, Legendary — here’s hoping you surprise us down the line.

(Via The Mary Sue)

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