Halfway through watching Wonder Woman last night, I was surprised to find that my cheeks were wet, that silent tears would not stop flowing, despite the fact that the scene playing wasn’t sad at all.
Wonder Woman was wielding her shield, standing strong against bullets hitting her from every direction, unwavering and bold and selfless, and I realized that I had never in my life seen such a powerful depiction of female strength on-screen. I wasn’t crying because the movie was emotional, I was crying because this woman, eyes blazing, shield high, running unflinching into a sea of bullets, a sea of men, meant the world to me.
I turned to my friend beside me and she smiled in recognition at my tear-filled eyes. She squeezed my hand, and whispered, “She is perfect.”
And she was. I imagined that she was fighting against the patriarchy. I imagined that with each bullet she shielded herself from a society that beats down women’s rights, resisting with fiery passion and resilience and struggle. I imagined that she was fighting against every cat-call, every sexist comment at work, every woman who could not become president.
But what really mattered was that she was fighting.
Wonder Woman on its opening night dispelled every myth that female superhero movies don’t perform well at the box office, drawing in $38.85 million yesterday, easily rivaling the performances of male-led superhero films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, and Iron Man, Forbes reports.
It also performed as the biggest single day gross for a female-directed movie. Men and women alike flocked to the theaters yesterday (my showing was sold out) and helped the film to set records in more ways than one. It’s yet to be determined how much the movie will make over the weekend, but at a probable $100 million, expect to read more than a few headlines and think pieces.
Of course, we shouldn’t need to obsess over profits: after the Green Lantern‘s flop, movie companies weren’t suddenly committed to cutting men out of movies altogether. But, with people like the CEO of Marvel claiming that female superhero films aren’t profitable, it matters. It shouldn’t, but it matters.
After waiting 75 years, we finally got our Wonder Woman movie — and, unable to keep from smiling as I wiped away my tears in that dark theater, all I could think was: What took so long?