By Alex Ariker, Staff Writer
// The Bechdel test, named after American cartoonist Allison Bechdel, was created as a simple way to gauge representation of women in a piece of media. For a film to be deemed “woman-friendly”, two female characters must have a conversation about a topic that isn’t a man. The recent push for more diversity in film includes movies that center on more strong female characters and therefore pass the Bechdel test; Hollywood chooses to do this by remaking fan-favorite movies with an all-female cast. Instead of empowering young women, these remakes do a disservice to the actors and the audience watching.
Starting notably with the 2016 version of Ghostbusters and later continuing with Oceans 8 and The Hustle, this trend has never produced a film that outperforms its predecessor.
An extreme example of this is The Hustle, a gender-swapping version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which is a movie about two con men on their quest to con a supposedly rich woman. The original film received an 89 percent on movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes, while the remake received an immensely underperforming 14 percent.
These statistics raise the question of why movies with an all-female cast perform worse in the box-office than their original counterparts.
Remakes of films that were originally well received and have a supportive fan-base are simply setting themselves up for disaster. If a movie already has a dedicated fan-base, those fans will presumably dislike the removal of their favorite characters from the film’s franchise in a newly casted remake.
Furthermore, remaking a film to live up to the legacy of a movie that previously received high ratings is a daunting task for any filmmaker. A movie that already has a near-perfect script, cinematography, and sound design is hard to better.
Thus, if a movie is already ‘critically acclaimed,’ the only reason to remake it is for more profit. Which is exactly what these all-female films are doing; they are cash grabs.
Large movie corporations often lack original ideas, but instead of creating new concepts or hiring others to do so, they are using the recent “trend” of female empowerment to bait viewers into paying for film tickets. They are focusing on the members of the cast, instead of the acting itself and the core parts of a film.
These film companies may claim that movies with an all-female cast provide young women with role models that they can aspire to become, and while they do, they also have the underlying unethical purpose of making a sly profit.
Women are usually denied role models in cinema because of male-centered casting, so creating films with female-centered casts is the clear solution to this, and it works–if the film is original.
If a movie focuses solely on the gimmick of female empowerment instead of entertaining, it is not addressing the purpose of cinema.
However, all of this is not to say that movies or television shows with an all-female cast are not exciting to watch. For example, Pitch Perfect (2012) focuses on a female acapella group and was widely appreciated by film lovers.
Another example of successful all-female media is the Canadian comedy TV show called the Baroness Von Sketch Show, which is a three-time winner of the Canadian Screen Award for Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series.
Films with an all-female cast can be good; they just need to focus on the core-aspects of cinema and not the selfish cause of stealing money from an unsuspecting audience.