Universal had a pretty bumpy 2011, but one very bright spot on their balance sheet was the modestly budegeted, Judd Apatow produced, R-rated hit “Bridesmaids.” The film was nothing short of a sensation, powering its way to $288 million worldwide, but before word could even begin to get knocked around about a sequel, the film’s co-writer, co-producer and star Kristen Wiig pretty much put the kibosh on returning. She’s played coy whenever asked about the prospects of a “Bridesmaids 2,” but this fall her co-star in the film (and in the upcoming “Friends With Kids“) Jon Hamm stated bluntly, “I don’t think Kristen is going to do it.”
Still Universal continued to try and get Wiig back on board, and perhaps trying to salvage a bridge they may have burned with her. THR reports that one of the possible reasons Wiig is sour on coming back, is the paltry $100,000 bonus she and rest of the girls received following the massive success of the film. Studio honcho Ron Meyer apparently tried to lure Wiig with an eight figure sum to return, but again, she declined. But Universal, no stranger to rebooting successful franchises (please see “The Bourne Legacy“), are considering their options on how to proceed even without Wiig.
“We are over the moon with the success of ‘Bridesmaids,’ and if we do a sequel we want to get it right,” a Universal rep told THR. “We are talking to filmmakers now about concepts, and if the right one emerges, we’ll move forward.” But the bigger question is whether or not the studio can wrangle key creative talent like breakout star and potential Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy (who we guess would be integral to any sequel) or producer Judd Apatow if Wiig balks.
“The key is we have to come up with an idea that is as good or better than the first one,” Apatow told the trade. “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.”
And while Apatow plays it safe with his comments, the general feeling is that he won’t go forward with Wiig or Annie Mumulo, who helped shape “Bridesmaids” with her. But really, it’s easy to see why Wiig isn’t eager to do another turn on the “Bridesmaids” treadmill. The success of the film has opened up a staggering number of doors for her. She recently wrapped the dramedy “Imogene” and this year she’ll join Robert De Niro in the Sean Penn directed “The Comedian.” She’s also got a dream project of sorts in “Clown Girl,” which she has been looking to get off the ground.
Our guess is that Wiig will eventually return to do another “Bridesmaids,” but she likely wants to diversify, and try out a few different things, instead of possibly being pigeonholed by her first massive hit. Universal understandably wants to get out of the gate as soon as possible on a sequel, but it seems Wiig is smartly being patient, and it must be nice to have the cushion of hit sequel to fall back on so you can try out a couple of different things. Could Universal say “fuck it” and go ahead without Wiig? Sure. But they might want to remember what happened with “Evan Almighty.”