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‘Charlie’s Angels’ flopped, but director Elizabeth Banks is still proud of it

Elizabeth Banks
Director Elizabeth Banks on the set of “Charlie’s Angels.”
(Chiabella James / Sony Pictures)

“Charlie’s Angels” director Elizabeth Banks isn’t letting one dismal opening weekend crush her spirits.

The girl-powered action flick starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska as the franchise’s newest class of spies performed well below expectations at the box office upon its release. It landed in third place at $8.6 million, behind the Oscar-buzzy “Ford v Ferrari” and the glossy war drama “Midway,” which made an additional $8.8 million in its second weekend — despite getting torn apart by critics.

Banks, who wrote, directed, produced and stars in the latest “Angels” installment, put on a brave face for Twitter on Monday, defending the project against its poor sales.

“Well, if you’re going to have a flop, make sure your name is on it at least 4x,” the quadruple threat joked. “I’m proud of #CharliesAngels and happy it’s in the world.”

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Modest projections for the $50-million Sony reboot came in at about $12 million-$13 million after a robust marketing campaign that included two trailers, a full press tour and a lavish music video featuring pop superstars Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey. Critical reception for the film has been mixed, with The Times’ Kenneth Turan calling its ambition “exemplary” but “the execution nothing to write home about.”

“Charlie’s Angels”
Ella Balinska, left, Naomi Scott and Kristen Stewart in “Charlie’s Angels.”
(Nadja Klier / Columbia Pictures)

Leading to its release, Banks has been an outspoken champion for the revival and its feminist messages. In addition to spearheading efforts behind the scenes, the “Pitch Perfect” alum also plays a vital role on screen as Bosley, a former Angel acting as one of Charlie’s agents in his new and improved Townsend Agency.

“I wanted really exceptional women in their fields,” she told The Times ahead of the film’s Nov. 15 opening. “That was first. I also wanted to remind people that women can be exceptional in fields that are typically the purview of men. That’s sort of the DNA of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ in general.”

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“Charlie’s Angels” is the newest take on the iconic crime-fighting trio that began with Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith in the original 1976 series, which later spawned cult classic big-screen reboots in the 2000s, starring Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore.

“I felt like we owed a debt to all of the entire canon,” Banks said. “I’m proud of the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ legacy, and my Angels are standing on the shoulders of the Angels that came before them. I know Drew Barrymore [who produced the 2000 and 2003 films] believed the same when she made her movies. Now my hope is that we inspire another filmmaker and another set of Angels in another 10 years.”


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