Released in 2019, “Charlie’s Angels” was a retelling of the famous franchise that debuted in 1976 with the television series of the same name. Upon its release, the film did not receive the expected success, and Elizabeth Banks seems to know one of the reasons for this failure.
Charlie’s Angels : new generation
In 1976, a television series named Charlie’s Angels (Charlie’s Angels in France). Thus, she follows a trio of female detectives, nicknamed the “Angels”, who work for an anonymous millionaire named Charlie Townsend. The show broadcast between 1976 and 1981 will be a huge success, becoming over the years a true pop-cultural phenomenon which will spawn other “girly” heirs (totally spies, for example). It must be said that at the time, it was rare for action series to feature women. The three characters embodied by the actresses Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson were therefore at the origin of a small revolution.
In the 2000s, two films were released: Charlie and his Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Angels Go Wild. If the characters and actresses are no longer the same (now make way for Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu), the two feature films are in the same universe as that of the famous television series of the 70s. The commercial success of the two films will only confirm the notoriety of the franchise which will also experience a television reboot in 2011.
In the mid-2010s, Elizabeth Banks finds herself at the head of a new project Charlie’s Angels. Indeed, it is a new component which will be located in the continuity of the original TV series and the two films of the 2000s. In the casting, we therefore find Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska who interpret the new Angels . A distribution to which we can add Patrick Stewart and Elizabeth Banks herself. We even find Jaclyn Smith who takes up her famous character for a cameo.
Reasons for a flop
Attached as a director, screenwriter, actress and producer on this project, Elizabeth Banks experiences a failure with Charlie’s Angels. Critics salute the performances of the actresses (in particular that of Kristen Stewart) but criticize an inconsistent film. The American box office will be very disappointing since the feature film will only collect $ 17 million in revenue, for a budget of 48 million. Admittedly, the international receipts allow the film to reap some profits (73.2 million dollars in worldwide receipts) but the expected results will not be there.
Chosen by Sony to spearhead the project after it worked wonders on Pitch Perfect 2Elizabeth Banks returns to the reasons for this failure in the New York Times. The main one, according to her, would be the way the film was sold. Thus, a Charlie’s Angels stamped feminist was perhaps the best idea, from a marketing point of view. Especially since the artist indicates that she did not make this film in order to display political demands:
I wish the movie wasn’t shown just for girls, because I didn’t make it just for girls. For me, there has been a disconnect between marketing and its content. (…) When women do this kind of thing in Hollywood, it turns into a feminist manifesto when I was just doing an action movie.
Elizabeth Banks also adds in her interview that she would have liked to make an opus of the franchise Impossible mission, but that women are not at the top of the list to stage them. Therefore, if she was able to shoot an action movie, it was simply because it featured women and she was a director.