Elizabeth Banks Wishes She Hadn’t Made A Feminist Movie

Elizabeth Banks says she thinks the reason 2019's Charlie's Angels failed is because the marketing focused too much on feminism.

By Britta DeVore | Published

Elizabeth Banks is wishing she could go back in time and have a redo on the 2019 Charlie’s Angels reboot and give the feature a different marketing tactic that wouldn’t revolve solely around feminism. Like current titles including Prey and Star Trek: Discovery that are finding themselves fighting the battle against those railing against them for their underlying take on “woke” culture, Banks’ film, which she wrote, directed, and starred in, was a major bust with many (including Banks herself) blaming its woke and feminist themes on the failure. During a recent interview with The New York Times, the The Hunger Games star spoke about what she would do differently were she able to travel back in time.

During the chat, Elizabeth Banks revealed that when she began working on Charlie’s Angels, she wanted it to be a straight up action flick and not necessarily turned into something that was leaning so hard on its feminist undertones. She believes part of the problem is the exclusion of women in Hollywood as a whole because, as she put it, “when women do things in Hollywood it becomes the story.” This feeling was incredibly stressful and annoying for the director who said that she would’ve really enjoyed making a film from the Mission: Impossible franchise, but recognized that that option hasn’t been available for female directors as of yet. 

Elizabeth Banks went on to speak to her views of how the feature was given a feminist selling point and went into the market appearing to have been made “just for girls,” something the actress and filmmaker wishes would have been majorly different. And, while the world certainly needs feminist centered pieces, there’s just something about saying that’s what they are that makes them less likely to be blockbuster hits. But, even when you don’t throw the word “feminist” into the pot, it’s still incredibly hard for a female driven, action storyline to take hold.

elizabeth banks feminist
Ella Balinksa, Elizabeth Banks, and Kristen Stewart in Charlie’s Angels (2019)

Take for example 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. The Paul Feig helmed flick boasted a lineup of all female Ghostbusters giving representation to a franchise that had otherwise been led by men. Like Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels the reimagined Ghostbusters feature was given gruff for being too feminist even though it was never about that in the first place – it was just putting a new spin on the classic story. 

For Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels, the piece deemed too feminist boasted a call sheet including Banks, Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, Naomi Scott, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Stewart, and Noah Centineo. It was a typical story you’d expect from the franchise with the angels setting out to stop an evildoer before it’s too late. What should have been a joyous return, was anything but when the feature only landed $73.3 million at the worldwide box office up against a budget of roughly $48-55 million and an advertising budget of $50 million. 

In the future, Elizabeth Banks will be avoiding any project that may lean too hard into the pocket of what could be deemed feminist. She’ll soon star in the Apple TV+ feature, The Beanie Bubble, and will have her directorial vision seen in the thriller, Cocaine Bear.