Why Harley Quinn and DC Women Could Be Warner Bros.' Secret Weapon

The studio's second female-led comic book film (with Margot Robbie attached to star and produce) gives it an edge in one area over Marvel, which has faced criticism for its lack of female leads.
Courtesy of Clay Enos/ Warner Bros. Entertainment

In developing a Harley Quinn movie, it appears that Warner Bros. has found an edge over the otherwise mighty Marvel Studios: movies that revolve around women. The Suicide Squad spinoff, which will put Margot Robbie's character in an ensemble built around DC Entertainment heroines and villainesses, will be produced by Robbie and penned by a female writer. It's Warners' second female-led comic book feature following Wonder Woman, which has wrapped production ahead of its June 2, 2017, release and will be the DC Extended Universe's fourth overall offering. By contrast, Marvel's first female-led movie, Captain Marvel, has been pushed back twice to make room for films with male leads and now is set to open March 8, 2019, as Marvel's 21st movie.

Marvel has faced criticism for its lack of female leads — Shane Black recently revealed that execs nixed a villainess in his Iron Man 3 because "that toy won't sell as well if it's a female" — which it has deflected by pointing to Scarlett Johansson's high-profile supporting role as Black Widow in the Avengers and Captain America films. Recently, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hinted at a Black Widow solo outing following what's already been announced, meaning sometime after 2019 — at which point Warners may already have sealed a reputation as the more female-friendly superhero studio.

This story first appeared in the May 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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