The Secret to Wonder Woman’s Success

Wonder Woman continues to open doors and break some boundaries especially for a tentpole superhero movie. It has reached a male to female viewer parity which is rare in an industry where the target audience is generally males 18-34.

They also attracted 6% more infrequent movie goers than normal. They also attracted a larger 50+ crowd than normal, which according to a study by Movio released at CinemaCon has a larger attendance rate than expected with 6.8 movies per year versus 5.2 movies a year for the average movie goer.

Read more at Variety.

But why?

I believe it comes down to a simple reality I would call story. While it had the superhero moments in spades, the story was more than just about spectacle and trying to overwhelm the senses. It had heart and showed what it meant to be human.

 At the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival a panel discussed the Central and Eastern European film industries need for better script development.

As reported in Variety, an American writer and Sundance Film Institute expert Erik Jendresen said,

“We can’t hold onto our vision in Hollywood. It’s a fear-based industry where they value money, not story. Studios are concerned only with tentpoles. They have no connection to heart and soul and storytelling, even though they act like they do.” He added that if you want to write films about basic human interaction, “you’re on your own.”

I’m currently in a class on leading creative development from a producer’s perspective. It is interesting, because I absolutely agree that decisions are being made out of fear, but when you go back to the basic thought of where does any movie come from, a script. A single script out of thousands and thousands, handled by hundreds of hands before it even gets the green light to get made, and even then can fail. Some people say all the interference made the movie fail, but as a writer I also know that if no eyes but mine see my script it could be junk. So of course there’s fear, but what’s the alternative?

Netflix, Amazon, and now even Facebook are going after content. There are opportunities for more stuff to get made and released. On the flip side, if you scroll through their content library you can find an even larger range of shows and films that fail even though we only talk about the popular ones like “Orange is the New Black” or “House of Cards.”

Wonder Woman succeeds because of the story told. Star Wars IV – VI succeeded because of the story told. Script development is not an easy process, but studio’s like Pixar absolutely depend upon it.  

See Ed Catmull’s book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s