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Universal caught lightning in a bottle last year with Bridesmaids, the raunchy female comedy that everybody else was too terrified to make, and was callously marketed as "the female Hangover" before it attracted enormous audiences on its own. After $288 million worldwide, a SAG Best Ensemble nominations and real Oscar buzz for Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids is one of the few original hits of the previous year, and one badly needed by Universal, which other than Fast Five had almost nothing really hit last year.
The obvious next step when you have a hit film is to make a sequel, but Wiig and her co-writer Annie Mumolo have stuck by their vow not to make one-- co-star Jon Hamm speculated last fall that Wiig probably wouldn't want to make one, and she firmly told The Hollywood Repoter "We aren't working on that. Annie and I aren't planning a sequel. We are writing something else." And yet, the Bridesmaids 2 idea isn't dead yet.
How would that work? Apparently the studio is willing to make another Bridesmaids without Wiig or Mumolo, focusing a film on Melissa McCarthy and her character Megan-- undeniably the breakout star of the film. Rumor has it that Wiig and her co-stars weren't happy with the $100,000 bonus the studio gave each of them, given the massive amount of cash it brought in worldwide, and even producer Judd Apatow might not be willing to come back. He gave a vague comment to THR-- "We don't want to do it unless it can be great"-- but a source told them that he wouldn't proceed "without Kristen and Annie's full participation." After all, Wiig and Mumolo shepherded the script together when nobody thought the movie could succeed, and a sequel that doesn't involve them would pretty much be missing the soul of the first film.
What it sounds like is that Universal is once again trying to ape The Hangover, which was a similar surprise hit for Warner Bros. and was quickly turned around into a hugely profitable sequel, albeit one that seemed to demoralize the entire cast in the process. It's heartbreaking to think that they'd be willing to do exactly the same for Bridesmaids, and kind of amazing to think of Wiig holding firm even when the studio is inevitably backing up the Brinks truck to her door. Unlike The Hangover Part 2, which at least had the original cast and director, a Bridesmaids sequel without Wiig would have a hard time even pretending it was worthwhile. It's depressing to think of the the studio moving ahead with such a pale, pathetic imitation of the original-- but when there's another $288 million out there to be made, people do some terrible things.