Rihanna will be joining Anne Hathaway and Sandra Bullock for Ocean’s 8, according to CNN. Other recently announced cast members besides Rihanna to round out seven of the eight in Ocean’s 8 include Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, rapper Awkwafina, and Cate Blanchett. Though Rihanna and Kaling have been pretty mum on social media about the casting (Rihanna is currently on tour and Kaling is back to filming The Mindy Project), Awkwafina seemed to be embracing the excitement of her Ocean’s 8 film role.
The eighth cast member has yet to be announced, but the fact that the all-female movie is starting out with three less than the all-male original Ocean’s Eleven has many wondering if Rihanna, Bullock, Hathaway, and the lot will suffer a fate worse than this summer’s all-female Ghostbusters remake.
Some find the casting of Rihanna, Kaling, and newcomer Awkwafina in Ocean’s 8 a little strange due to the fact that all three are generally unproven to bring in box office bucks. Rihanna has already experienced one big budget flop in Battleship in her limited acting career and though Kaling is well known for small screen success in The Office and The Mindy Project, her film experience is limited to bit parts and animated roles.
Others are applauding the director’s choice to bring diversity to Ocean’s 8 with the casting of Rihanna, Kaling, and Awkwafina. Perhaps studio execs are hoping diversity combined with three Oscar-winning actresses of Hathaway, Bullock, and Blanchett’s caliber might be enough to drive Ocean’s 8 to box office success similar to the billions pulled in by the Ocean’s 11 franchise.
According to GQ, however, Warner Bros. may have jumped on the feminist bandwagon too soon by committing to Ocean’s 8 before realizing that Ghostbusters was set to actually lose Sony Pictures money rather than make it. Of course GQ is a magazine for men, so this could just be an anti-feminist take on the matter.
While many insist the grumblings about films like Ocean’s 8 and Ghostbusters has nothing to do with the push for an all-female cast and more to do with a lack of originality in scripts and plotlines, this seems to be more of an excuse than an argument considering the multiple sequels afforded to male-driven films such as Rocky, Rambo, Ocean’s Eleven, and more.
Perhaps Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, and Sandra Bullock simply need the female version of Sylvester Stallone to be cast as the eighth person in Ocean’s 8. After all, even Stallone’s cheesy, action packed Expendables got two sequels. Or maybe Ocean’s 8 just needs to pull in Ronda Rousey for some muscle.
One thing is for certain, however. If a fan favorite like Melissa McCarthy wasn’t enough for moviegoers to shun all the bad press Ghostbusters received before its release, it may make no difference who Ocean’s 8 brings along for the ride — unless of course 8 can prompt cameos from George Clooney, Matt Damon, or Brad Pitt as love interests for Rihanna, Hathaway, and Bullock.
While female protagonist-led films have proven they can bring home box office gold with movies like the Hunger Games franchise or Star Wars: The Force Awakens, all-female casts seem to be a hit or miss with audiences. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy raked in the cash with their buddy comedy The Heat despite lackluster reviews, bringing in four times its production budget, according to Box Office Mojo. But Ghostbusters, which ironically received more positive reviews from critics and also starred Melissa McCarthy will seemingly finish at an estimated $70 million loss.
Maybe Sandra Bullock is the key here, though Bullock herself has experienced a flop or two (can anyone say All About Steve or Miss Congeniality 2?) Or perhaps the combination of Hathaway and Bullock will lead Ocean’s 8 to find success where others have struggled. Or maybe it’s the inclusion of Rihanna who, as a musician, has over 64 million followers on Twitter and could carry Ocean’s 8‘s popularity vote.
Regardless, no matter how well the script of Ocean’s 8 is written or whether Hathaway, Bullock, or even Rihanna pull off the acting roles of a lifetime, the movie-watching public is finicky. And with Ghostbusters struggling to shrug off the ghosts of backlash past, one thing is for certain: there is a lot riding on this particular Ocean’s wave.
[Rihanna image by David Brecker/Getty Images. Sandra Bullock image by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images. Anne Hathaway image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images.]