CherryPicks will give female film critics a voice among the male bias in reviews to rival Rotten Tomatoes
The feminist version of Rotten Tomatoes has arrived.
Film producer Miranda Bailey (“Diary of a Teenage Girl”) was tired of reading movie reviews written from a male point of view. So she is launching CherryPicks, a site featuring female-only writers who will critique and recommend movies, TV shows and music with a nuanced perspective to combat the male bias. Bailey says the site will be up and running this fall, ahead of the next awards season.
“Women consume half of the media in the world, but the majority of movie reviews are written by men,” Bailey tells Moneyish. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place we could go to see what women thought about media — film, TV shows — and know what that score was?’”
Bailey’s site will offer original reviews and recommendations written by female journalists and bloggers along with aggregated content, similarly to the format of Rotten Tomatoes. The most unique part about the site is that the scoring will be determined based on the presence of females behind the camera and starring in the film; not just the plotline. And instead of having red tomatoes to measure the ratings, CherryPicks will have bowls of cherries and pits. A bowl of cherries signifies a great, must-see film, TV show or album; a pair of cherries simply means good and recommended; a single cherry stands for mixed reviews, or so-so; and the cherry pit, is pretty self-explanatory — it’s terrible. The goal is to have female opinions be heard.
Bailey has already recruited a roster of female reviewers including Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter, NPR’s music critic Ann Powers and president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Claudia Puig. Other women writers from various media outlets and blogs will also be invited to write for the site on a freelance basis. CherryPicks plans to generate revenue through ad sales.
The site is already earning praise from actors like Reese Witherspoon who tweeted: “The World Needs this!”
— Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) March 15, 2018
“At the end of the day, it’s not about who’s right. It’s finding the voices you identity with to help you make a choice of what to spend your money on,” says Bailey.
Women make up the majority of ticket buyers today, but that hasn’t been seen on screen. In 2016, 52% of moviegoers were female compared to 48% of men, according to market research from the Motion Picture Association of America, however, women were protagonists in just 29% of films. It’s a dramatically low number, especially since movies with strong female leads have proven to make big money. Last year, the top three of the highest-grossing domestic films starred women. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi, starring Daisy Ridley as space heroine Rey, grossed the highest earning of $1.31 billion 2017. Disney’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” with Emma Watson as Belle came in second with $1 billion worldwide and megahit “Wonder Woman” surpassed $800 million globally, making it the highest-grossing superhero origin film of all time.
CherryPicks also comes at a pivotal time for women in Hollywood with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that eclipsed the awards show season with actors and actresses advocating for a legal defense fund to help women combat sexual harassment and misconduct across industries. Political issues such equal pay, gender parity and diversity also dominated the discussion on red carpets and at movie premieres.
This is the most excellent thing I have seen in a long time. When we say we want inclusive equality in our industry, we’re also talking about the voices who review and critique our films. Amazing @mirandambailey and @TheCherryPicks #TIMESUP https://t.co/rxWFKZpw5g
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) March 14, 2018
The 41-year-old director who has produced films including “Swiss Army Man” and “I Do…Until I Don’t,” learned early on that she wanted to control her own narrative as a woman in the entertainment industry. She started out as an actress, but when she wasn’t being offered parts that she could relate to, she pivoted to directing and producing to create those missing parts.
“I never really identified with some of the female roles that I was told to audition for. I ended up being pressured to take off my clothes when I was 22-years-old. That’s why I started my first production company to make my own movies,” Bailey says.
Now she also encourages other female colleagues and moviegoers to champion each other by supporting each other’s projects.
“As females, we need to go and support the women who have movies in the theaters,” she said. “I went to ‘Bridget Jones III.’ I didn’t like the movie, but I was happy to be like, ‘Alright I’m going to show up.’”
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