Movies and television are different beasts, of course, but if the success of Supergirl is any indication, the viewing audience is clearly ready to give female superheroes their due.
ABC is readying season two ofAgent Carter, initially billed as a limited series but renewed anyway despite ratings that weren’t nearly as impressive as Supergirl‘s.
Netflix’s Jessica Jones, premiering next month, is already generating a ton of buzz and garnering praise for its (relatively) nuanced portrayal of sex and LGBT characters.
As for the actual source material of these movies and shows, female-led comic books are more popular than ever.
The new Thor, recently relaunched with a woman wielding the hammer, is outselling the previous editionby 30 percent.
Ms. Marvel, reimagined as a Muslim-American teen named Kamala Khan, was reprinted seven times and was the best-selling digital comic of 2014.
Still, it seems unlikely that any of this will convince studio chiefs that female superheroes are worth their time.
During the Sony hacks last year, Indiewire uncovered an email from Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter listing all the female-led movies that had failed — Elektra, Catwoman, Supergirl, and unnamed “more” — as evidence of why new ones just won’t work.
It’s worth noting that the most recent of those movies, Elektra, came out 10 years ago, and Supergirl came out in 1984.
It’s also worth noting that plenty of male superhero movies have tanked too — Daredevil, Green Hornet, and Green Lantern, to name a few.
Moviemaking is always a risk, and a lot goes into what makes a film a box-office hit, but those risks are taken on men time and time again.
Take Guardians of the Galaxy, for example. As superhero properties go, it was relatively unknown before the movie came out, yet Marvel saw fit to try it anyway even though one of the Guardians is literally a talking raccoon.
(Guardians went on to make more than $774 million at the box office.) It’s time Hollywood takes a chance on female superheroes — especially since, if TV is any indication, it won’t be much of a risk at all.