Following her Oscar turn in Monster’s Ball, Halle Berry has notably been in a string of misfires. Enter Catwoman, with Berry playing the title character. Patience Philps inadvertently stumbles upon a dark secret her employer is hiding, which ends in seeing the normally shy and sensitive graphic designer turned into the titular hero. Not surprisingly, Catwoman was bombarded with negative reviews upon release; however, the reviews don’t equate to box office sales, so Catwoman still had the opportunity to be successful despite the bad critical reception. Unfortunately, the film opened with nearly $17 million during its first weekend and considering the fact that this feature had a production tag of $100 million, that wasn’t a good sign. Catwoman would end up making nearly $83 million worldwide, confirming that the superhero pic was a giant flop. Add in the fact that Catwoman was nominated for so many Golden Raspberries and the film is more an embarrassing failure. So, what happened? Halle Berry was fresh off of X2 and Die Another Day, two films that made some serious box office money. The actress was arguably at the peak of her fame and should’ve garnered more interest from fans. This article will examine why Catwoman bombed at the box office.
Catwoman had nothing to do with Batman
Catwoman is a bad movie. In fact, it’s such a horrendous movie that even Halle Berry has called it a piece of s**t. However, probably the most baffling thing about the respective film is that there’s nothing about the movie that ties into the world of Batman or Gotham. There aren’t easter eggs that hint at the film being in the same world. None of the villains or heroes show up in the film. Hell, the title character is wildly different from who Catwoman in the comics and television is. Selina Kyle is a slick, crafty, and often cunning expert thief who operates more as an anti-hero than a hero. Patience Philips is none of that. Now look, there’s nothing wrong with a film widely deviating from its source material. Todd Philips did this with Joker and that movie turned out fantastic. However, the difference is that he kept the core traits that Joker is known for. Plus, Joker does live in Gotham City. Catwoman had seemed more of a cash grab to piggyback off the success of the source material without ever understanding just who the title character is. Oh, and just because her name is Catwoman, doesn’t automatically mean that she has cats. The trailer for the film tipped off fans of the DC comics that this was not a film based off the popular comic book character. Is it possible to make a standalone Catwoman feature? Yes! Catwoman has an interesting backstory and the fact that she works with both heroes and villains could really make her character standout in the live-action films. As it stands, a Catwoman feature has technically been made, but no one even counts this Halle Berry vehicle as canon to the popular DC figure.
Female Superhero films weren’t much of a hot commodity at the time
Believe it or not, the superhero craze was barely existent during this time. X-Men and Spider-Man, and to a certain extent Daredevil were doing solid box office business, but female led comic book features were a rarity during this time. Later on, comic book movies Elektra, Aeon Flux, and Ultraviolet flopped hard during this time period, but all of these films had something in common: They weren’t particularly good. None of those features were given the respect their characters deserved. Now, we all know why there weren’t many females led pics at the time. This is more of a Hollywood problem, but the movies listed didn’t exactly propel movie goers to purchase a ticket either. Elektra is the best out of the four films mentioned, but even that movie suffers from being bland and pedestrian. Despite obviously trying to lure horny men into the theaters, Catwoman didn’t particularly appeal to that crowd because of the lack of action presented. Since the film seemed geared towards men, women weren’t interested because not many of them are comic book fans. Catwoman failed because it didn’t exactly know what demographic it wanted to reach. The film is part comedy, romance, and action, but it never succeeds at any of those genres. Halle Berry tries her best. That’s the nicest thing I can say about the film. The actress works with what she’s given, but the Catwoman script is what kills the entire film. Ultimately, Catwoman could’ve work if the filmmakers actually tried to write something compelling and not bank on horny men to come to see their movie.