Monday, August 22, 2011

Bridesmaids Stands Alone

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 ├╝ber-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
This is not to say that franchise flicks have to be inferior to original works, although I would argue that is the case here. But we should all be grateful at least original work maintained a beachhead amid the all the pre-sold stuff dominating the multiplexes, lest studios give up making original material altogether.

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.


  1. "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"

    sentences like this are the reason I read your blog!

    it's sad to see one original film among the top ten only. i understand your enthusiasm (and i'm right there with you on applauding the film, not just because it sold so much, but also because i really liked it) but it's only a matter of time before we get a 10/10 sequel/franchise/superhero lineup.
    unless there's a backfire.
    the only thing giving me hope is that Captain America didn't catch up with Thor. With arguably much more pedigree and better reviews, the only reason for its lower box office is superhero fatigue.

  2. of course, that's my speculation only.
    there might be other reasons, but i'm hoping it's that.

  3. Perhaps the most astonishing thing from my perspective is how few of these I actually saw. Also telling: how few I even wanted to see.

  4. It does feel like the glut of franchises that made up this summer is something that has been slowly building in a quasi-dormant way until it exploded on us. Like a malignant mole. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the reason behind all this. Do you think the economy is to blame or some other factor, like the current Hollywood culture? My feeling is that Hollywood is moving away from actor/director-centric business model to a creative property business model. After all, a creative property can't demand more money or jump on couches.