This weekend, The Blind Side became the first female-led movie to cross the $200 million mark at the box office, thus capping off Sandra Bullock’s much-documented super-awesome 2009. To me, though, it’s not shocking that this movie did so well, and I don’t think it’s all due to Bullock (though a star name of any kind helps any film) or women. Blind Side is a feel-good movie about a real-life football player, which pulls in a whole different demographic (in other words, dudes). Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from bad for women in any way – every time a female star, particularly one over 40, rings up a huge box office hit, an angel gets its wings, as far as I’m concerned. It means more parts for ladies of a certain age, and no one is complaining about that. But her success with The Proposal earlier last year might prove the greater feat for womankind, as it was one more sign (along with Sex and the City’s blockbuster run and Meryl Streep’s current status as America’s Sweetheart) that the next generation of romantic comedy stars – you know, that “next Julia Roberts” and “next Meg Ryan” Hollywood is always allegedly looking for – might not be the next generation, but the very same generation, doing good work in good films aimed solely at adult women (as opposed to teen Twihards). Good romantic comedies prove the power of the female audience, and the more of them we support, the better they’re going to get. More importantly, we need great, seasoned women in the lead roles. (Julia herself will be getting in on this more next year, with almost-sure-things Valentine’s Day and Eat, Pray, Love; Meg should be calling her agent to figure out how she can jump back into this hopefully-now-recognized market.)
So I’ll lead yet another champagne toast to Bullock’s grand resurgence (since apparently she won’t be drinking to her success), but I’ll save the really good bottle of Cristal for the coming crop of solid films aimed squarely at female audiences that I hope her success ultimately breeds.
What do you think of Bullock’s big year? What will its ultimate legacy be?