The Alamo Drafthouse movie chain said this week it's "embracing our girl power" with women-only screenings of Wonder Woman at least two theatres in the U.S., but the move has left some men angry at being left out.
The Alamo theatre in Austin, Texas, announced an early evening screening on June 6 for all who identify as women, adding that all staff would be female and proceeds would go to a local women's shelter.
The announcement didn't go down well online with a number of locals — mostly men, but some women as well. But in an era where many companies and businesses quickly backtrack at the whiff of a viral controversy, the theatre has been unbowed and announced a second screening on the same night.
Wonder Woman, expected to be a summer blockbuster, opens in wide release on Friday June 2, including at the Alamo chain.
The New York location of the theatre, in Brooklyn, has just announced its second female-only screening for June 8.
Staffers from both theatres have responded with sass to critics online, including to a man who asked the Austin moviehouse if they've ever organized a men-only screening.
"We've never done showings where you had to be a man to get in, but we *did* show the Entourage movie a few years ago," was the reply.
Via Facebook, one woman criticized the screenings as a "scheme to make money wrapped up in a feminism debate" and noted "plenty of women, feminists, wouldn't be OK with this."
Some critics felt Wonder Woman was the wrong movie for a women-only screening, because the comic was originally created by a man, William Moulton Marston, and because boys used to read the comics more than girls.
One male reader questioned why men would be shunned at all for this particular film, declaring: "50 Shades of Grey. Yes. Magic Mike. Yes. A Twilight movie marathon. ABSOLUTELY!"
"Congratulations Alamo Drafthouse!!! You're fighting sexism with sexism!" stated another man to the New York theatre. "Way to make women look equal to men and vice versa by separating them."
Others weren't buying that stance.
"You guys have had a men's only goddamned presidency since the inception of this nation," a female fan said online. "Let us have a movie screening."
And it's not clear whether this guy was being serious or tongue-in-cheek:
The feedback wasn't all critical; people from far-flung locations also posted their appreciation for the events and told Alamo staffers to keep up the good fight.
'Chill out, bros'
The Alamo's June 6 women-only screenings aren't the Austin location's first such event catering to a select audience.
In a column entitled "Chill out, bros," Dallas Morning News critic Britton Peele points out that the theatre has held family-only screenings and, also, has an upcoming showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell Tales where — you guessed it — dressing like a pirate is the only way to get in.
Though the chain has its biggest presence in Texas, where it first opened 20 years ago this week, it also operates theatres in several other states. Fans in San Francisco and other cities have asked their local franchises if they'll be following suit with the special screenings.
Wonder Woman is the first superhero movie led by a female performer in years. The adaptation stars Gal Gadot from The Fast and the Furious franchise in the title role of Princess Diana of Themyscira/Diana Prince and is directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster). Chris Pine of Star Trek fame portrays Steve Trevor, colleague and friend of Prince.
The movie had its Hollywood premiere on Thursday, but a planned event in England was cancelled in the wake of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing. In a social media post, Jenkins dedicated the movie to the "heroes lost in Manchester."
That's a sentiment that hopefully all moviegoers can get behind.