Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
May 16, 2011

Two of the classiest people in basketball.

Girls' Night Out! Dudes stay home!

Kim Hollis: Bridesmaids, aka The Chick Hangover, opened to $26.3 million. What do you take from this result? Also, do you believe this will be a leggy project?

Josh Spiegel: First of all, can someone explain to me what makes Bridesmaids the female version of The Hangover? Aside from both films sharing a similarly weird and wacky Zach Galifianakis-esque sidekick, I'm not seeing much of a comparison. (And I say this only hours after seeing Bridesmaids.) What this proves is what is always proven in the world: people will see pretty much anything as long as you sell it right. Clearly, Bridesmaids' biggest selling point is its word-of-mouth (it's pretty funny, though about 20 minutes too long) and that pretty much every critic in the country is raving about it. It also helps that Bridesmaids is opening on a weekend with no other new competition; also, bringing The Hangover back into the conversation, Bridesmaids is beating that film's sequel to the multiplexes, which can only help. I can definitely see this being a movie with legs, but it really depends on how much Hangover: Part Deux does and how much of the audience it steals.

Tom Houseman: Josh, I don't know if you've been smoking out of the wrong end of the crack pipe lately, but Bridesmaids was blatantly advertising itself as "The Hangover with Vaginas!" Word-of-mouth doesn't make for a big opening weekend, because of course nobody has seen the movie yet. There was a lot of anticipation for this movie because the commercials looked great, it's gotten very good reviews (90% to Hangover's 79%) and it was "The Hangover with Vaginas!"

I have no doubt that people who have seen the movie will note that they're very different movies, and good word-of-mouth is what will make it leggy (although I take offense to referring to a movie about women with such misogynistic terms), but that doesn't change the fact that this movie's initial success can largely be attributed to the fact that everyone thinks it's "THE HANGOVER WITH VAGINAS!"

Edwin Davies: There's been a pretty serious dearth of both good comedies and good films aimed at women recently - I'd consider this to be the main reason why Something Borrowed opened to more than $10 million last weekend (it wasn't good, but it was a comedy aimed at women and beggars can't be choosers) - and Bridesmaids has come along at just the right time to take advantage.

Based both on the track record of previous Judd Apatow productions, which have displayed terrific staying power so long as the reviews and word-of-mouth are there (and as long as they aren't a million hours long and don't feature a tacked on romantic subplot in the final third), and the fact that it acts as de facto counterprogramming to Pirates 4, it looks likely to have a strong second weekend next week, which would feed the word-of-mouth for the film. Even the arrival of The Dude Bridesmaids: Part Two in a few weeks might not hurt it too much.

Bruce Hall: I have to agree with Edwin's fundamental point that women looking for quality comedy aimed at their demographic have historically been left out in the cold. It's also been widely assumed that bawdy, R-rated material doesn't sell to women and it isn't a shock to see the entertainment industry behind the eight ball once again...which brings me to my next point. Marketing this film relative to The Hangover is probably bit deceptive, but it isn't without reason. If you simply took The Hangover and replaced the leads with women, you'd end up with the same number of ladies in seats that you usually see at a Rush concert. But men and women tend to respond to both humor and weddings in different ways, and while both of these films are wedding comedies, they approach the subject from an more adult perspective than a PG-13 rating would allow. And they do so in a more gender appropriate way than the comparison suggests. Men who may have been turned off by the rom-com sounding title might be willing to give the thing a spin because it really is a good film, and is getting good word-of-mouth. If you were miffed at the bait and switch it shouldn't be hard to forgive, and the good will this movie is enjoying should help give it statistical legs. But with Johnny Depp's Ambiguously Gay Pirate coming to town next week, it may not be enough from a strictly financial standpoint. I think I know where a lot of the ladies will be next weekend.

Shalimar Sahota: I guess The Hangover resemblences are coming about because it concerns a wedding, the women go to Vegas, and Kristen Wiig gets drunk. I'm with Edwin, in that there seems to be a lack of decent comedies for this specific demographic, and the strong reviews place it higher than the likes of those Sex and the City movies, It's Complicated and Mamma Mia. For an original film that isn't actually based on anything, it's a strong result. This could be a potential $100 million earner, though how well it holds next week should tell if Bridesmaids has Gillette Venus style legs.

Reagen Sulewski: I don't know if the problem is that women won't go see raunchy comedies - it's that men won't go see them starring women. The general sense is that we've been burned by these films that were stealth romantic comedies and/or talked about "feelings" and junk, and as such, men have stayed away. It then becomes a vicious cycle - Hollywood won't let women make raunchy female comedies, and men assume they don't and can't exist. This could turn the tide, but as always it takes one actually being funny to do it.

Legs-wise, that Bridesmaids is appearing to subvert expectations has really good potential for its long-term health - think about There's Something About Mary, which opened small and under the radar and ran all summer.

Jim Van Nest - I realize it's single point analysis here, but my wife is stoked to see this. She has not seen (and will not see) The Hangover. She does not do raunchy comedy. yet, the trailer for this movie had her cracking up. It seriously comes off as a raunchy comedy for women. Guys have shown they'll watch any kind of obnoxious comedy, but this one now has the women on board too. I don't think Reagen is too far off with his Something About Mary comparison.

It's Priest - Just in time for Rapture Day!

Kim Hollis: Priest, the $60 million Screen Gems production starring Paul Bettany, opened to $14.9 million. Is this a good enough result?

Josh Spiegel: I think the most positive thing I can say about this movie's opening is that it could have been worse. But, with the 3D ticket prices, the amount of people who actually saw this movie is kind of low. I'm guessing that this movie won't make back its budget here, but it could easily do well overseas. At best, Screen Gems isn't going to eat a lot of money here, but I bet they wish it did better.

Tom Houseman: Can somebody please convince Paul Bettany to stop making such terrible movies? Nobody is going to be happy with this result. This is the sort of movie that should have been dumped in January like Legion was. It is going to get pummeled next week by Stranger Tides, and will be lucky if it drops less than 60%. It's going to be praying for success overseas and on DVD, but if God is at all just that won't happen.

Edwin Davies: Someone's going to have to come and read the last rites for Priest. The pre-Pirates release meant that if it had any chance of making its money back, it was going to have to do well this weekend because it is going to get slaughtered next week. That didn't happen, so we can expect a colossal drop followed by an ignoble afterlife on DVD.

Bruce Hall: No, but they can't all be Gems. Get it? Come on, that was gold Jerry, Gold!

I can't think of much to add other than to say if you wanted to see Priest, you either already did or you'd better do it fast. It was a non-factor this week and will vanish along with everything else next week, when Captain Sparrow comes to town.

Shalimar Sahota: It was pushed back to allow the film some time for a 3D conversion, probably because Screen Gems knew how awful the film was and so thought that they could recoup a bit extra with the inflated 3D ticket prices. But then they decide that the best thing to do is to open it the week before On Stranger Tides, which will use up all those 3D screens next week! It has a trashy, Sci-Fi channel look about it, which makes me believe that maybe a TV series would have been a better option. As well as Screen Gems, it's interesting to see that Tokyopop is also listed as one of the production companies (the publisher that released the original comic for the West). Given their recent financial circumstances, this'll probably be the only feature film to their name.