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Breaking the Mold: Ocean’s 8 and the Intersection of Feminism and Entertainment


There have been many arguments for equality and diversity where the film industry is concerned. It’s been argued that there haven’t been enough opportunities for females in lead roles and people of color getting the biggest roles.

Indeed, it’s something that Hollywood has looked to try and tackle in recent years, but it’s also been suggested that there is still some way to go. However, Ocean’s 8 could be a film that many could point to as trying to break the glass ceilings that exist and prove that women can do just as well as their male counterparts when it comes to starring in important lead roles.

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Ocean’s 8 and its impact

Ocean’s 8 was released in 2018 and featured an all-female lead cast. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter were all cast to play the main characters of the film, with each of them receiving a fair share of screen time.

The franchise is famous for its elaborate heists, with Ocean’s 11 the one story that started everything off. It featured George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts as they planned to pull off a heist that involved stealing from three casinos in Las Vegas simultaneously. The film had an infatuation with gambling and casinos; it would have only been normal to assume that the all-female cast may have looked to have done something similar in their debut showing.

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Indeed, gambling has become a popular pastime for many females in recent years, with figures suggesting women are playing online casino games nearly as much as their male counterparts. With the popularity of online gambling gaining traction for women, a theme of the pastime could have been an excellent way to show just how they are gaining interest and how they might be transforming the gaming culture.

While gambling culture is evidently changing, it’s hard to say that the impact that Ocean’s 8 had on Hollywood didn’t do as much as it might have first been thought. Of course, it was a version that was perhaps overdue and required given the fact that the franchise had been overly male-dominated, but did it actually have the desired impact on audiences and the movie industry as a whole?

What did Ocean’s 8 achieve?

If we take Ocean’s 8 at face-value and consider what it managed to achieve at the Box Office and the reception that it achieved, then it’s possible to see the impact it had at the top of the surface. According to figures, the film managed to gross $297.8 million; this was significantly higher than the $70 million budget that had been allocated.

A deep dive on the figures help to highlight the impact that it had on female audiences, perhaps helping to provide female empowerment. In its debut, it managed to amass a total of $41.6 million, with the audience share being highly in the swing of a female audience. It was revealed that as much as 69% of viewers were female.

Ocean’s 8 also managed to outperform other all-female-lead casts that had been produced in the years prior, while it had tracked alongside the 2016 all-female Ghostbusters reboot. This perhaps was helped by the largely positive reviews it received from critics, although some had been left with questions.

Did Ocean’s 8 help improve equality and feminism with its release across Hollywood?

Given the statistics that are possible to obtain, there is every reason to suggest that there were some positives from the decision of director Steven Soderbergh to use eight women as the lead characters in this ensemble cast. However, did it have an actual impact on what was achieved elsewhere?

In truth, while the effectiveness of the film showcased that women could play the role of attempting incredible heists and how they could do it without the need for dominant male characters, it doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect on Hollywood.

Today, we’re still looking to find movies that have women as protagonists and be cast in roles, across all genres, not just in those focused on strategic crimes. While it’s possible to argue that women are being given more opportunities for lead roles, they still aren’t really getting the chances that many male actors are receiving continually. It would have been easy to say that more opportunities are available, but in truth, it wouldn’t be harder to do that today than it was in the past.

Feminism and equality are two things that the movie industry would benefit from greatly within its film releases, but hopefully, it’s something that we finally get as viewers, as it will only add authenticity to the films that are made.

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