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.