Is Hollywood still in pursuit of gender-flipped stories? It sounds like it. According to a new rumor from insider Daniel Richtman, there is a female-led Extraction movie in the works. Extraction is the Netflix hit thriller movie starring Chris Hemsworth. Richtman didn’t share who might be cast in such a project. He also didn’t share whether Hemsworth might appear in the movie.
Two prominent gender-flipped products were 2016’s Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8. In Ghostbusters, the story took place in the same world, but didn’t have much to do with the original movies or storyline. In Ocean’s 8, the main character was Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney in the original Ocean’s 11 film. Ocean’s 8 was fairly separate from Ocean’s 11, but at least had the familial tie bringing Ocean’s 8 more into the world. With a movie like Extraction, the story could probably invite a female-lead by just having a woman play a mercenary, possibly working with the same organization we saw Chris Hemsworth working in for the plot of the first movie.
Extraction did well for the streaming network. Netflix typically measures its metrics by the number of viewers who turn in during the first 28 days of a new movie or series. Of their original movies, Extraction is by far one of their best performers. The movie has 99 million views during its first 28 days on the network. This was more than popular Netflix originals like Ryan Reynold’s 6 Underground or Sandra Bullock’s Bird Box. With such a high-performing title, it would make sense that Netflix might want to expand the Extraction universe for the Chris Hemsworth production as much as they can. Joe Russo is currently working on the script for Extraction 2. The writer has been tight-lipped about his plans for that film. But is a gender-flipped Extraction what audiences want to see?
As far as movie-watching audiences go, studies have shown that women make up more than half the audience. It can be assumed that a gender-flipped Extraction would be in the works in order to appeal to a female audience, but is that something they were asking for?
In the past, audiences haven’t reacted the best to many of the gender-flipped movies they’ve given us. The New York Times examined why they feel so off and suggested that, “Hollywood’s female-focused reboots require women to relive men’s stories — and to fix their politics, too.” So instead of focusing on the truth of the female character’s experience, as they focused on Chris Hemsworth’s character in the original, the script becomes too busy focusing on fixing the original script to make it more female-friendly. This makes a big assumption about what women in the audience want to see and there still seems to be a gap between many of those assumptions and how audiences actually feel.
It hasn’t been a secret that Chris Hemsworth has many women as fans. If Hemsworth was a main draw for the general audience when they chose to stream Extraction, Netflix will need just as big of a draw to a female-led movie in the same world. The power of the first film likely won’t be enough if the story is missing Hemsworth, which is what so many people enjoyed about the first movie. There will need to be an actress with star power of a similar weight to Hemsworth to draw audiences in. It seems likely that Netflix would recognize this, so it would be interesting to see who they cast. Still, the gender-flipped productions we’ve seen in recent years have had big stars and still not been well-received. It may be more important that they hire a scriptwriter and director with some success telling stories starring women characters.