The Province

Avengers unite us all

The Avengers is part of a summer movie trend featuring strong female characters such as Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow

- LOS ANGELES

— As Disney’s superhero movie The Avengers hits U.S. theatres today, the actors who play Captain America and Thor are chatting up the hosts of female-oriented TV talk show The View.

Hollywood is putting on a fullcourt press to attract women to summer movies. With a full slate of big-budget action films from Sony’s The Amazing Spider-man to Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight Rises vying for the same fanboy audience, female filmgoers may hold the key to boxoffice dominance.

Opening weekend sales for Avengers could reach $155 million, a performanc­e that would put it in line with the biggest U.S. and Canadian film openings of all time, said Keith Simanton, managing editor of movie website IMDB.COM.

“You can’t do $155 million with just guys,” he said. “It’s got to be a date night. It’s got to be an event.”

Hoping to reach the record books, studios are trying out new ways to get their superhero movie messages beyond the male-dominated comic-book crowd and in front of women.

Sony, for the first time, is using a cosmetics promotion for its new Spider-man movie that reaches theatres July 3.

The studio partnered with nailpolish maker OPI for a movietheme­d line promoted in women’s magazines including Lucky and O, The Oprah Magazine. Nail colours sport names like “Your Web or Mine?,” “My Boyfriend Scales Walls,” and “Call me Gwen-ever,” a nod to Spider-man love interest Gwen Stacy.

Featuring relationsh­ips and strong female characters, rather than just action, is one way film marketers try to lure women. Stacy, played by Emma Stone, is “such an integral part of the story, so we wanted to highlight that in the marketing,” said Marc Weinstock, president of worldwide marketing for Sony Pictures.

“It’s a testament to the audience and how broad this movie goes,” he said.

For Avengers, Disney’s Marvel studio sent its superheroe­s to the pages of women’s magazines and femaletarg­eted TV shows.

Scarlett Johansson appeared on the cover of Vogue and talked to the magazine about her role as Black Widow, one of the few female superheroe­s on the big screen. Cast members posed in Instyle, Elle, People and other magazines, and chatted on talk shows such as Good Morning America and Live! with Kelly.

On the ABC Family network, moms and daughters saw sneak peeks of Avengers. The movie’s redcarpet première was streamed live on websites such as E! and Popsugar.

Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros, meanwhile, is gearing up its marketing for another superhero flick, Batman sequel The Dark Knight Rises. A trailer released online ahead of the July 20 release features a steamy kiss between Batman alter-ego Bruce Wayne and colleague Miranda Tate, giving a heavy dose of romance.

Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, featured prominentl­y in the trailer, appears to play an empowered female role that could draw in women, IMDB’S Simanton said.

The summer pursuit of women follows this year’s runaway success, The Hunger Games. The movie is the biggest film of the year so far with more than $600 million in global ticket sales, thanks to female fans who flocked to see resourcefu­l warrior Katniss Everdeen and joined males who turned out for the sci-fi and action elements.

This year’s smash hit shows the upside of marketing to women, said Susie Rantz, a spokeswoma­n for Geekgirlco­n, a group that runs a convention celebratin­g women’s roles in geek culture from comics to science and gaming.

The Hunger Games success provided Hollywood with “a wakeup call that females in general like action-oriented movies,” Rantz said.

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— SUBMITTED PHOTO
 ?? — DISNEY ?? Eye candy aside, by courtesy of Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America in the Avengers, the film industry is trying to cash in by attracting more female viewers.
— DISNEY Eye candy aside, by courtesy of Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America in the Avengers, the film industry is trying to cash in by attracting more female viewers.

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