About a year ago, the movie Bridesmaids opened in the U.S. and was the subject of a rather unusual awareness campaign.
Female movie fans, largely independently of the film's producers, compelled women to go see the film in its opening weekend and defy common Hollywood wisdom that non-rom-com movies aimed at ladies were box-office laggards. To many cultural critics, it was a dubious effort: a Judd Apatow-produced flick that was still, after all, about a weddingand with one notorious scene riddled with bodily humiliationsthis was a feminist cause célèbre?
The thing is, it kinda worked. Bridesmaids opened very well for a "chick flick," with $26 million in ticket sales, and went on to gross just shy of $170 million domestically, soundly beating such summer tentpoles as Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class. The fact that the star-free, Kristin Wiig-led movie was actually good suggests it would've found its audience under any circumstances. We'll never know, but given Hollywood's ever-increasing promotional emphasis on opening weekends, it's totally defensible that the impassioned grass-roots launch was critical to the movie's ultimate success. It also sent a consumer-driven message ("This half of the population shouldn't be ignored or pandered to") that should've been screamingly obvious in 2011 but somehow wasn't.
One year later, I'd like to invite you to get behind another consumerist message that, in 2012, should be equally uncontroversial: Being openly gay shouldn't prevent you from having a No. 1 album in the United States.More »