'The Early Show' Attacks Hollywood for Shying Away from Female Leads

    It takes a lot to defend Hollywood, but CBS’s “The Early Show” makes it easy.


     According to an article by Nikki Finke on LA Weekly’s Deadline Hollywood Web site, Warner Bros. (held by parent company Time Warner, NYSE:TWX) President of Production Jeff Robinov made the decree “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead.” Finke called Robinov’s comment “Neanderthal thinking.”


    Reportedly Robinov made the statement after poor box office numbers from Jodie Foster's “The Brave One” (grossing $34,380,387 domestically – ranked 49th for 2007) and Nicole Kidman's “The Invasion” (grossing $15,071,514 domestically – ranked 86th for 2007).

     CBS Entertainment Contributor Jess Cagle blamed it on Hollywood’s sexist culture – not the recent poor box office showings by movie with women in the lead.


     “There is a tremendous amount of sexism in Hollywood, just as there’s a tremendous amount of sexism in our culture,” Cagle said. “So, you find it in Hollywood, for example female directors have a really hard time getting into the business and I think that is one of the reasons why Hollywood just does not know how to make good movies about women for women.”


     Although Warner Bros. denied Robinov made such an edict, CBS “The Early Show” National Correspondent Hattie Kauffman made a poor argument to refute the alleged social injustice.


     “In fact, if you look at the biggest moneymakers over the last year, three of them were driven by women,” Kauffman said on the October 9 “The Early Show.” “‘The Devil Wears Prada’ took in $124 million in the U.S. alone. ‘Dreamgirls’ was another $100 million movie. And you couldn't do ‘The Queen’ without a female in the lead. The movie tallied $122 million worldwide.”


     However, those movies weren’t exactly blockbusters. Kauffman had to look pretty far down the list to defend movies with women in the lead. “The Devil Wears Prada” was 17th out of the top 100 domestic grosses for 2006.  “Dreamgirls” came in 19th and “The Queen” was 57th. “The Queen” barely broke the top 20 (19th) in the 2006 gross box office rankings that include United Kingdom – where conventional wisdom would suggest the movie would do well.