Last year’s lady-centric comedy Bridesmaids cost Universal $32 million to produce and ended up banking over $288m at the box office. Plus it made viable, hit anchoring stars out of both Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. So, would you imagine that the studio wants to make a sequel? The answer is yes, yes they do, very much, but unfortunately they have a huge stumbling block in front of them. According to a report from THR, the original film’s co-writer and star, Kristen Wiig ,isn’t interested in doing another one.
When asked about the potential sequel, that should definitely be once again written by Wiig and her collaborator Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig, Wiig replied, “We aren’t working on that. Annie and I aren’t planning a sequel. We are writing something else.” Oh. Ouch. That sucks for Universal. THR’s speculation over why Wiig refuses to play ball centers on the minuscule $100 thousand bonuses the cast got on the first one, after it became a runaway financial success, but Wiig refused to comment on whether her reluctance to work on another Bridesmaids is financially motivated or not.
She also might not want to start doing comedy sequels because she’s trying to move her career in a more dramatic direction. She’s got upcoming dramatic roles opposite people like Annette Bening in Imogene and Robert De Niro in The Comedian. That sounds like a potential springboard into Oscar territory to me. Doing something as lame as a “getting the band back together” comedy sequel could derail a dramatic career pretty quickly if it didn’t turn out really good. Is Wiig trying to make the move to more respectable, awards-grubbing work?
And what does this mean for Universal? Well, Bridesmaids 2 is a potential bucket full of dollar signs, so it means they now have to try and go forward and turn this into a series without the creator of the original, and they have to somehow do it without offending fans. To that end they’re tossing around some of those studio-speak quotes about how they’ll only do another one if the situation is right. One Universal rep said, “We are over the moon with the success of Bridesmaids, and if we do a sequel we want to get it right. We are talking to filmmakers now about concepts, and if the right one emerges, we’ll move forward.”
If Wiig isn’t on board, then one would imagine the right concept would simply just be one that slides McCarthy over into the starring role. If they’re really going to go forward with a Wiig-less Bridesmaids, I’d say that McCarthy is now the one lynchpin that they need to make audiences buy into it. But with her now-busy schedule, will she be willing to play ball?
Even uber-producer Judd Apatow is getting in on the studio-speak on these matters. When asked about the sequel he said, “The key is we have to come up with an idea that is as good or better than the first one. We don’t want to do it unless it can be great. I don’t think anyone has had the brain space to think about it yet. Hopefully that can begin this year.” But is it really possible to make a sequel better than the first one without the participation of the creative force behind the first one? An unnamed source says of Apatow, “I don’t think [Judd] would proceed without Kristen and Annie’s full participation.” That remains to be seen, but keeping a close eye on how this sequel develops should be a pretty good indicator of who’s in it for the work and who’s in it for the pay day.