The Black Widow Premiere Demographics Are Male Dominated, And We’re Almost Surprised
There are so many things going on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now that we’re having trouble keeping track. There is the finale of Loki, a growing list of upcoming films and phases, and the recent release of the highly anticipated and long-awaited Black Widow. Though we already went over the box office numbers for the premiere of Black Widow, some news of the film’s demographics were recently released that had us surprised. The female-led superhero film was always one that would sell tickets, but the ratio of male-identifying viewers versus female-identifying viewers was up in the air until now.
The Black Widow Demographics Are Interesting, But Not All That Surprising
As revealed in the Black Widow box office numbers, the film dominated against the competition. Using a blended in-theater and premiere access technique, it managed to pull in $215 million for its opening weekend total. This film is both fem led and fem directed, which is a big step up in the MCU. Sure, we had 2019’s Captain Marvel, co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, which scored over a billion at the box office. But Black Widow has been in the works for over a decade, and its audience has been brewing. So, we were curious to see what the audience would look like. Would fangirls come out of the woodwork to see it?
While my Tik Tok’s For You Page would have me think that it’s just the gals watching it alongside me, actual demographics for Black Widow prove otherwise. 58% of ticket buyers for the film’s debut weekend were men. This doesn’t mean that the demographics will stay so male-dominated, especially as we have more MCU fans heading out to see it or even to re-watch it. And, of course, we’re sure to see more viewers once premiere access has faded on Disney+. But for now, it’s quite a difference in viewership.
Image via Marvel Studios.
What Do Other Marvel Films Look Like?
Not unexpectedly, pretty much every Marvel film has been watched predominantly by men when it comes to theater demographics. After all, comics have been catering toward men for decades. Meanwhile, our kickass women characters have been slower to earn their own agency and be seen as something other than somebody to look at. Barely a quarter of DC and Marvel characters are female, and even fewer are protagonists. Oh, and their powers sometimes aren’t as impressive, either. We often watch what we can relate to or be inspired by, and women have waited a long time to feel inspired by their on-screen super counterparts.
Gender breakdowns of various opening weekends for superhero films have all shown a clear dominance of male viewers. In most cases, and as shown in a 2015 study, the ratio looks to be split about 60/40. These findings reported that Big Hero 6 was the only superhero film to have an even ratio with a near 50/50 split and that the largest difference in gender differences was with 2012’s Dredd adaptation, with a shocking 75/25 split.
Luckily, plenty has changed even within the past six years. The opening weekend of Wonder Woman in 2017 had an audience made up of 52% women. That’s about as equal as it can get when it comes to box office demographics! The other recent woman-led superhero film, Captain Marvel, had a ratio of 55/45 men to women on its opening weekend, which is a little bit closer to equal than most other comic book adaptations and superhero movies. Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp also had similar ratios.
The Numbers Are Always Changing and Growing
Based on how close other films have gotten to equal viewership, the 58% male and 42% female audience numbers for Black Widow are pretty much on track with what we could have expected. But could we see a jump in viewership by women as the praise for the film continues to spread and we all realize that we have an honest, thrilling, and well-told lady-led superhero film out there? Hopefully.
Readers, are you surprised to hear about any of these Black Widow demographics numbers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Featured image via Disney+.
Meghan Hale is the kind of movie lover that has a "must watch" that is a mile long... and growing. When she isn't talking about the latest film and television news she is writing one of her many in-process novels, screaming film trivia at anybody who will listen, and working as a mental health care professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for some fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.