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It's hard to believe that Paul Feig's r-rated comedy Bridesmaids came out six years ago, but it has been that long. In the wake of Bridesmaids' success, a heckuva lot more r-rated female comedies have been made, and the movie really did pave the way for more entries in the genre. However, before Bridesmaids' release, its success was not guaranteed, leading to Paul Feig sweating bullets about whether or not he could pull the premise off. He recently admitted he was terrified of messing things up for lady comedians everywhere..
But the scary thing about it was there was a lot of pressure being put on it by the industry because it was a female-led comedy that was R-rated. Honestly, they were in an absolute holding pattern on ordering any other scripts in that world until they saw how we did, which is ridiculous when you think about it because men aren't put to that same litmus test. Nobody's saying when they're making The Hangover, 'Well, we've gotta wait and see if a movie about guys going out is going to be funny.' It was the biggest relief of my life when that movie did well because the whole time there was this absolute fear that I was going to somehow fuck it up.
To be fair, The Hangover really was a litmus test for r-rated comedies in general, and it paved the way for the studios to be more comfortable making r-rated comedies, including Bridesmaids. Still, we see how being the Bridesmaids guy was a little bit terrifying. At the time female comedies weren't as known for being raunchy, and Bridesmaids has a scene where Maya Rudolph gets diarrhea in the street. There was no gauge for how audiences would respond to the movie, and if it didn't do well, Hollywood simply could have passed on any other r-rated, female driven comedies, citing budget concerns. You would think every movie would stand on its own merits, but that not always how Hollywood works.
Paul Feig elaborated to Uproxx, noting that he was simply worried his legacy would be that he would be the guy blamed for messing up that type of movie forever.
Yeah, one day they'd ask, 'Well why don't we make those kind of movies anymore?' And they'd say... Blame it all on him.
Luckily, it all worked out. Bridesmaids went on to make more than $288 million worldwide, and $169 million of that was a domestic total. Since the budget was only a little over $32 million, that translated to clear profit, even with advertising costs. Which was a clear win for female comedies. In fact, in the time since, Paul Feig has been known for making female fronted movies, including The Heat, Spy and the Ghostbusters reboot. He's also producing Snatched, which hits theaters this weekend. We'll have to wait and see what else he gets on board with in the future, but in the meantime you can check out all the female-driven movies coming this summer.