The internet is great at a lot of things but one thing that it hasn't really managed to do all that well so far is promote a big box office haul for a blog-beloved film. The most famous hype was based around "Snakes on a Plane", a movie that got ridiculous amount of discussion on the ol' internets but nobody actually went out to see it. "Fanboys" was another film that got a big online push but it still got dumped with a tiny release and, from most reviews, wasn't very good. Hollywood's most notorious and arguably powerful blogger Nikke Finke got into the mix with "The Women". She made a big to do about how the film wasn't going to get a big release and how it showed some sort of sexism at work. The film tanked and was listed on many "Worst of..." lists at the end of the year.
And now we have "Bridesmaids", a film that films sites and twitterers are going crazy about. Now the first and most obvious difference between this film and most of the others is that people have actually seen this film. Some people had seen "Fanboys" but I still felt like that was, fittingly, more of a vocal minority movement of fanboys promoting that film. With "Bridesmaids", however, the hype is coming from all angles. There are blogs on HuffPost calling for people to go see it in the name of all that is good for women in Hollywood. Film sites can't stop writing about how amazing the film is. Comedian Neal Brennan joked on Twitter: "According to the Internet,"Bridesmaids" box office performance is the most important issue for women since Roe v. Wade."
Normally, I would probably buy into the hype hook, line, and sinker but there's one glaring issues with "Bridesmaids" - the trailers suck. Yes, some of the later ones have gotten better but I honestly can't remember a movie that seems to have been served worse by its trailers than this one. Bloggers SWEAR that the film is better than the promos look. They say that it has far more heart that you'd expect. Producer Judd Apatow confessed via Twitter, "I hope men will go see bridesmaids. It works well for them. Hard to tell from the ads I know. Hopefully word will get out." (Although it's odd that Judd considers men to be "them". Is he not one of us?)
So how will this work out? For the opening weekend, my prediction is that it won't go well. "Thor" has a solid word of mouth campaign behind it and almost all of the people who've been excited about Bridesmaids have already seen it (and I'm not sure how many are going to go back to see it again.) "Jumping the Broom" also seemed to get a little boost on Sunday (mostly from Mother's Day viewings) but that might have garnered enough word of mouth to steal some of the target audience. Reviews are strong but I think the trailers have scared away enough people that the film's success is going to have to be long term. The problem with relying on a slow build is that this summer is packed and films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Hangover 2, X-Men: The First Class are coming out soon and the noise from their promotions might just drown out "Bridesmaids".
As for me, I must confess that the trailers have turned me off almost completely and if I see anything this weekend, it'll most likely be "Everything Must Go". Personally, I think every studio head with a questionable sell should have their head checked if they didn't move it to August, where almost nothing is opening. Well, besides likely bomb of the year Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
But it should be interesting. I think anything bigger than 20 million this weekend and the internet gets a lion's share of the credit for those extra millions. I'd be stunned if "Bridesmaids" tanked (I mean, if "Something Borrowed" can make 13 million, "Bridesmaids" has to be good for at least 20, no?) but I will also be surprised if the opening weekend makes the people trumpeting the film happy. I doubt that it will make Hollywood execs sit up and notice all of the talented actresses out there just waiting for a feature nor will it give studios any less pause when it comes to a female-centric cast. If anything, I could see many people in power seeing even a surprising opening for the film and giving Judd Apatow a lot of the credit (or they may want female-led movies that have poop and fart jokes in them ala the trailers for this one.)
In the end, I really doubt that "Bridesmaids" will do much to help boost the festival/internet crowd's standing in terms of promoting box office success. Not to say that people were wrong (although the festival crowd has led me astray more than a few times before) and that "Bridesmaids" isn't a solid film but I think the trailers and studio's marketing combined with the competition might have dug the film too big of a whole to get out of.