I took this screengrab off of Box Office Mojo this weekend. The top ten films of 2011 so far at the domestic box office:
My reaction to this line up is three cheers for Bridesmaids. The only non-sequel, non-franchise film in the bunch. The other nine films consist of
- 1 comedy sequel
- 2 animated sequels
- The 5th entry in a franchise that had to be electro-paddled back to life after the 3rd film in the series jumped the rails
- The 4th part in a series that audiences stopped caring about halfway through the second one but keep attending out of habit and misplaced affection for the first film
- The third entry in a quality-defying, soul-deadening series that seems to exist mainly to make film critics question why they bother at all
- The 2nd part of the 7th part of the a franchise so huge it may very well be the only thing keeping the world economy from total collapse
- 2 entries in an über-franchise made out of other smaller franchises that will multiply like gremlins until the Summer movie season starts on Groundhog's Day and ends on Halloween
And I am aware you could argue that Bridesmaids is an example of the same kind of market thinking that produced the other nine movies. It is, no doubt, an example of smart counter-programming attacking the female demographic and riding the wave of R-rated comedy popularity that is currently being sequel-ized in the Hangover 2.
All this may be true, but you know what? I don't care. Bridesmaids didn't come pre-sold. It had to get in there and hack it out and earn its success with laughs and good word-of-mouth, and without fast food tie-ins or Comic Con hype. That is reason enough to applaud.