I don't think I realized how powerful the film Bridesmaids was to this industry until this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film may be history and talk of a sequel is fading, but right now is when we're feeling the effects of its $288 million worldwide. You could say that television has already started sipping on the Bridesmaids juice with shows like 2 Broke Girls (and more on the way) but now it's beginning to reach the big screen. And it's not that it's reaching the big screen as this cheesy, highly-polished studio product in a smash-and-grab attempt to milk the female-heavy cast thing dry by churning out ugly scripts just to keep riding that box office high. Where its effects are being felt is with the independent product first; the first-time writers and directors who've been sitting on these great female-driven stories that no one else wanted to make. Now because of Bridesmaids they want to make them, and several of those because-of-Bridesmaids are premiering here right now.
"We only got made because of Bridesmaids," Isla Fisher told us earlier in the day. Fisher stars alongside Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Rebel Wilson in Bachelorette, premiering here Monday night. "They gave us the money the week after Bridesmaids," Wilson (who also starred in Bridesmaids) chimed in. "Bridesmaids is such a great success story for all of us," Fisher added. "You're going to see a whole slew of female comedies because of Bridesmaids, and we're lucky."
Other female-heavy success stories at this year's festival include For A Good Time Call ... starring Ari Graynor (in a role that may finally catapult her star status to leading lady) and newcomer (plus co-writer) Lauren Miller. The raunchy, R-rated comedy about two girls who start a phone-sex operation to pay their rent premiered Sunday night to a standing ovation at the Eccles and will almost certainly be snatched up immediately. That's what happened to Katie Aselton's low-budget horror Black Rock, which sold within hours of its midnight premiere Saturday night. That film -- about three girls who get stranded on an island while camping alongside some deranged former soldiers -- stars Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth. They're all different ("the only thing Bachelorette and Bridesmaids have in common is ... wedding," Kirsten Dunst told us), but yet they all share a similar path as the first post-Bridesmaids round of female-driven ensembles.
People are taking advantage of this window in smart ways for once, and that window will no doubt extend because the quality of the films are just getting better, if this year's Sundance slate is any indication. Female-driven films aren't risky anymore, and all of a sudden there's this breath of fresh air; this voice that's been waiting to take us on adventures that feel fresh and original at a time when we desperately need more fresh and original.
Now whether they make any sort of Bridesmaids money will, of course, be up to you. But hopefully we'll all support this movement with everything we've got, high box office results or not, because this is the one trend we need to stick around for a long while.