Defamer has an interesting piece today about how Oscar-winner, box-office champ Reese Witherspoon somehow manages to be billed second to B-lister Vince Vaughn in their upcoming flick.
Is it simply that studios are too terrified to give a woman first billing over a male star, lest people then think the film to be a chick flick? After all, Vaughn’s last hit was The Break-Up, the rare romantic comedy with strong male appeal, something that marketing folks might have felt was in jeopardy had costar Jennifer Aniston been first-billed. Four Christmases isn’t a romcom but a flat-out comedy, but would it be perceived as the former if Vaughn was subservient to Witherspoon in the billing block?
Yes, when compared to Witherspoon, the presence of Vaughn in this film makes us more likely to see it (though still? not very likely), simply because the actor has a track record of enlivening even the most formulaic films with his improvised comic riffs. Still, we wonder just how B- and C-list you’d have to go to find a male costar whom the studio would allow Witherspoon to supplant. In an alternate Four Christmases, could the actress vault over Colin Farrell to claim first billing? Or will she have to settle for a part opposite Freddie Prinze Jr. to claim what, by rights, should be hers?
What do you guys think?
Are studios ever going to be able to give a woman top billing in a comedy without it being labeled a chick flick?