You could say Judd Apatow is slipping in his mainstream appeal. 2009's "Funny People" grossed $71 million worldwide, while 2008's "Knocked Up" cumed $219 million globally and 2005's "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" totaled $177 million the world round. That said, you could also say he's growing creatively as he is tackling more mature subjects now, or at least did with the Adam Sandler-led cancer comedy.
Still, thankfully Universal is not giving up on the guy and the studio just set a June 1, 2012 date for the writer/director/producer's new comedy. According to Deadline, Apatow, who will triple-threat the project again, is writing the picture now, it's untitled and details of course are under wraps. Apatow's always evinced a James L. Brooks dramedy-like sensibility in his work and that was definitely demonstrated in the more soulful, "Funny People." Presumably, the new film will stay in that vein, but probably won't run audiences a tiring almost 2 1/2 hours.
That weekend Apatow's fourth directorial effort under the Uni aegis will face off against... nothing, at least not yet. No other films are currently slotted in that spot, so Uni obviously wanted to raise its flag there first. The weekend before and after are busy. The weekend before, May 25 is "Men In Black 3D," which will surely battle him for number 1 the following week and only "John Carter of Mars" is sched'd so far for the following weekend, June 8.
You could speculate that the regular Apatow troupe members will be on board, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, etc. etc., but we're hoping the director branches out a little bit more, though adding Eric Bana to "Funny People" was a nice touch. We would love to see more Aubrey Plaza too.
Apatow still has a lot of producing projects on the docket as well. He's shepherding David Wain's "Wanderlust" starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd as an urban couple who branch out to live a more counter-culture lifetstyle. It boasts a great cast which includes Ray Liotta, Malin Akerman, Justin Theroux, Lauren Ambrose and Alan Alda among many others and is set for a October 7, 2011 release. Then there is "Bridesmaids," which is basically Kristen Wiig's time to shine in a Paul Feig-directed comedy (keeping it in the family/coming full circle, Feig created "Freaks & Geeks") Scheduled for May 13, 2011, the cast is stellar: Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm, Oscar winner Dianne Wiest, Matthew Lucas (U.K. hit comedy show "Little Britain," Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland"), Chris O'Dowd ("The I.T. Crowd," the upcoming "Gulliver's Travels"), Ellie Kemper (Erin on "The Office"), Melissa McCarthy ("Gilmore Girls"), and Wendy McLendon-Covey ("Reno:911"). It's co-written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo and centeres on two women (Wigg and Byrne) battling to plan their friend's (Maya) wedding party. We can't wait to see a female-led Apatow film, albeit not one he's directing.
Breath. Apatow is also producing. "Business Trip" starring his wife Leslie Mann, a new Pee-Wee Herman film and has three more project in the hopper, many of them tied to Aziz Ansari, including a "Raaaaaaaandy!" film (the jerkwad comedian from "Funny People" in his own spin-off).