After ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’ It’s Time for the Myth of the Fanboy to Fade By Owen Gleiberman

After ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’ It’s Time for the Myth of the Fanboy to Fade By Owen Gleiberman

After ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’ It’s Time for the Myth of the Fanboy to Fade


Hollywood studio executives who are overgrown fanboys need to stop using the young-male demo as an excuse to make whatever they want.

….Yet there are, in truth, many priorities in Hollywood apart from greed. People have a bias toward making movies that reflect…themselves.

For years — decades — fanboys dominated the film industry from the ground up. They represented the Force that must be served. And so it only made sense that the powers who were hired to serve them in Hollywood were, themselves, overgrown fanboys.

They made the movies they wanted to see, serving an audience of teenage boys and slightly older young males who were, in essence, junior versions of themselves.

And (so the logic went) you couldn’t argue with what they were doing, at least as a business plan, because this was simply the new version of “giving the people what they want.”

…Let’s acknowledge that back in the ’80s, when Hollywood first discovered its born-again blockbuster self by relentlessly targeting teenage boys, the demographic studies all justified what the executives were doing.

… The young-male demo became a self-fulfilling prophecy, to the point that no one ever thought it would change.

…I’m sure the experience of others can bear this out — that when you go to the kind of movie that used to be made for “young males,” you will now see young males…and young females. And that’s due to an underlying change in the social temperament of gender.

But just look around you! Pop culture rooted in the imagination of women — Beyoncé, “The Hunger Games,” “Lady Bird” — is now as tough and hip and self-determining as dude culture. Judging from some of the reader comments on Sonia Saraiya’s excellent recent post about the over-extending of “Star Wars,” there are more than a few young men out there who still believe that “Star Wars,” after all these years, is a guy thing. Sorry: That’s a dusty perception rooted in ancient history. From “Star Wars” to the WWE, there’s hardly such thing anymore as a culture for young men that’s cut off from women.

Read more of that editorial on Variety

See Also:

Last year (2017) had ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Lady Bird.’ But the number of female leads still went down.

2018 Study: Women-Character-Centric Movies Outperform Male-Centric Character Movies

Study Shows Movie Audiences Aren’t As Racist As Hollywood Execs Think (2018)

Hollywood: Please Stop Marketing Some of Your Movies as Being “Feminist”

Film Diversity Report Says Hollywood Rhetoric Hasn’t Equaled Results (2018)

2 thoughts on “After ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Wonder Woman,’ It’s Time for the Myth of the Fanboy to Fade By Owen Gleiberman”

  1. Look what happened to Star Wars. It bombed about as hard as the SJW Ghostbusters.

    Sorry, but the Pareto Principle applies to planets, galaxies, pea pods and customers as well.


    1. I’m a conservative, but I’m all for more diversity in movies and cannot for the life of me understand why so many online get out-raged over movies containing more women or black people in them.

      When I was a kid and saw the first Star Wars (A New Hope) in theaters in 1977, and the two follow-ups (ESB and RoTJ) a few years later, I could not figure out why there were not more blacks and women, (other than Lando and Leia, basically).

      And that was before I was even into politics, and that was long before the term “Social Justice Warrior” came into existence.

      I’m not sure which “Star Wars” you are referring to.

      If it’s the latest Solo: A Star Wars Story (which I finally saw a day or two ago at the theater), it was quite enjoyable.

      Reports say it’s gotten low box office, but nobody really knows why.

      There are all sorts of theories for ‘Solo’s’ poor box office put forth, from lack of interest in seeing a Han Solo backstory, to fan backlash against Last Jedi, to not enough marketing, to Star Wars fatigue, to the timing of its release (up against “Avengers: Infinity War”) and I forget, off hand, all the other reasons.

      As far as the Ghostbusters 2016 movie. That is one I have not seen. (I rarely make it out to the movies, and I don’t do Net Flix.)

      From what I do know of that movie (I’ve seen clips of it online and have watched or read numerous reviews of it), the movie itself is not too much into “SJW” stuff.

      I do think some of the marketing for the movie, or a few scenes of what you might consider SJW-ish in the movie, got into SJW issues, but that was largely in reaction to all the white men online screaming and yelling about how having four women leads in a Ghostbusters movie supposedly “ruined their childhoods.”

      The funny thing is, the men online who say they disliked Ghostbusters 2016, from what I have seen, have said they did NOT hate it due to S.J.W. themes (i.e., sexism, having women in the lead roles), but because they felt the story line or script was poor.


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