Two days into CinemaCon—the convention formerly known as ShoWest—the studio presentations have been full of action and surprises. CinemaCon is the yearly convention for the National Association of Theater Owners, but it has also become a platform for the major studios to showcase their upcoming lineups. I’m going to give a taste of the sights and sounds, but try to keep as much of the mystery box intact as possible.
It was with great anticipation that I awaited Paul Feig’s follow-up to Bridesmaids. While not the first of its kind, that film proved that female raunch comedies could be profitable. Feig has long been one of my favorite directors, as throughout his career he has cultivated a reputation as both a talented filmmaker and an innovator. Continuing his tradition of going against the grain, Feig is now taking on the buddy cop movie with The Heat. It’s an arena that has long be dominated by male stars, but he has two powerful resources at his disposal in Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
I think Top 10 lists are fun. Many critics write beleaguered sorts of “I don’t really want to be doing this and it’s stupid and rankings are meaningless” disclaimers at the beginning of their lists. Ugh. Look, it should go without saying that any list (or review) is a reflection of the writer’s personality and their un-duplicate-able individual experience. If you’ve read the rest of my writing this year, you will not be shocked by my list. What I’d like to say before I dive in I don’t consider to be a disclaimer, but just necessary context: the films I didn’t/couldn’t see that are on my mind anyway.
You would think I had produced the film, with how desperately I wanted Bridesmaids to make a ton of money this past weekend. I’m not a person who makes a point to read box office predictions, and in this case I actively avoided it—any prediction, high or low, could only add to my anxiety. Now we know that it landed at number two in its opening weekend, with just under $25 million, around $10 million less than the second weekend numbers for Thor. I hear that this is good, about $10 million above where predictions were tracking last week. And yet, my exact words on hearing that number were: “And when The Hangover 2 makes three times that, I’ll weep.”
Allen Almachar: Bridesmaids (2011) stars the comedian Kristen Wiig, who, for the last couple of years, has been one of the funniest people around, and perhaps one of the last reasons to still watch Saturday Night Live. I for one, am glad to see her finally take the lead role in this film. Here, she plays the lovelorn ex-baker/current jewelry saleswoman Annie. Annie has had bad luck in love and life, with a failed bakery on her resume and brother/sister roommates who seem to be a little closer than is appropriate.
I have been an avid fan of Judd Apatow’s ever since he produced one of the best TV shows of all time, Freaks and Geeks. I’ve loved nearly everything he’s directed or produced in the years since. Superbad is one of my favorite films of all time. The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Pineapple Express are some of the best comedies of the last ten years. Audiences seemed to agree with me on Apatow up until around 2009. None of his films since then have made as much money as those early hits, and aren’t as well regarded. Many people have seen them as more of the same, similar premises featuring all of the same actors. Apatow’s new film as producer, Bridesmaids, comes out today and seems to be made to answer the criticism of his past work. Gone are Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, and in their places is a group of very funny women. The film also sees Apatow re-team with Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig, now a director, and the end result is the best film he’s been involved with since Forgetting Sarah Marshall.