As Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie, some might have believed that Captain Marvel had a great deal of pressure on it to perform. Well, perform it did because Captain Marvel recently passed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, becoming just the 7th MCU movie (38th movie overall) to achieve that incredible feat. Entering the three-comma club is quite the achievement, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise according to the film’s star Brie Larson, who said:
I’m very grateful to have broken this glass ceiling of normalizing the concept that women can also make a billion dollars. I don’t know why that was so hard to comprehend in the first place. It’s just like we’re human, whatever. If people needed this to be another reminder this decade [that minority groups can open movies and make a billion dollars] then great, I’m here, I did it.
Brie Larson is thankful to have had her film become such a massive global success, but she doesn’t see what she did as anything groundbreaking or anything that should be viewed as a surprise. In her mind there was never any reason to think that a film led by a woman couldn’t be successful and hit the billion-dollar mark. To her, Captain Marvel is just the latest proof of that.
What Brie Larson is touching on here in her discussion with Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones and the Women in the World summit, is the narrative that female-led blockbusters can’t be successful. This is an antiquated notion that has perpetuated over the years, and although it has long since been disproven, every female-led movie seemingly has the pressure to prove it again and succeed not just for itself, but for all those female-led movies that hope to come after.
The Carol Danvers actress rejects this notion, and sees Captain Marvel as just the most recent movie to show that movies don’t have to fit in the traditional mold to succeed. Any good human story can find success with audiences. She seems to hope that while Captain Marvel isn’t the first female-led movie to find success, it will hopefully normalize the concept and put the matter to bed.
Brie Larson is certainly right that Captain Marvel’s success should not have come as a surprise because it was female-led. In recent years we have seen female-led films like Lucy, The Hunger Games, Frozen and Wonder Woman all become massive hits. Some may not have reached quite the level that Captain Marvel did, but Brie Larson’s heroine is far from the first to bring in the big bucks.
If anything the only surprise with Captain Marvel was the degree to which it succeeded. As an MCU film is was bound to make money, but for the new-to-the-universe character to be in the $1+ billion company of the team-up films, surpassing every other solo film sans Black Panther and Iron Man 3, is quite the feat.