After months of fan lobbying for a superhero film starring a woman, one is finally on the way. Sony has hired Lisa Joy, who has worked on TV shows Burn Notice and Pushing Daisies, to concoct a female-centered story for the Spider-Man Universe, Deadline reports. The studio has not yet announced which character will get her own movie, but Spider-Woman, Black Cat and Silver Sable are all in contention.
Sony’s announcement comes just two days after Marvel Studios tried to explain why they had not yet made a female-centered superhero film. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said that he supported the idea but that it “comes down to timing.” But now Sony has beaten Marvel to the punch. Many critics and fans (including myself) expected a Black Widow movie (spun-off from The Avengers universe) to be the first to hit the big screen.
Though previous attempts at a woman-led superhero films, like Catwoman starring Halle Berry and Elektra starring Jennifer Garner, have tanked, recent box office numbers suggest that the world is ready for a comic book flick starring a woman. An analysis of 2013 movies found that those with strong female characters (like The Hunger Games and Frozen) did better at the box office. Meanwhile, Lucy—an action-sci-fi movie starring Scarlett Johansson (who also happens to play Black Widow in the Marvel universe)—has been a surprise hit, grossing $66,787,000 domestically in just two weeks, beating out Dwayne Johnson’s testosterone-laden Hercules.
And comic-book movies that include women in the ensemble of heroes (and which don’t relegate them to the role of damsel in distress) have had a particularly profitable summer: X-Men: Days of Future Past outpaced both Spider-Man 2 with a worldwide gross of $739.9 million. And Guardians of the Galaxy has had the biggest August opening weekend of all time at $94 million, thanks in part to Zoe Saldana—the only woman in the ensemble cast and the most recognizable face on the movie poster. One of the reasons is that these movies attract more female moviegoers: Guardians was the first Marvel Comics film for which over 40% of the audience was female.