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Judd Apatow on Funny Women and Flukes

by Melissa Silverstein
December 21, 2011 11:56 AM
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Judd Apatow now knows that making a great movie targeted at women is a way to make money.  You get the women and you get the men.  Even though he looks prescient, he admits that he was making a movie targeted at women.  But you gotta give him some credit because his whole point was that if you make a GOOD movie men and women will come.  He just got them to walk through the women's door first which most people are afraid of.  Now if only we could get the rest of Hollywood to understand this too.  I'm not saying that Hollywood shouldn't make The Hangover, I'm saying they should figure out how to make The Hangover and Bridesmaids (or variations of comedies that star men, and comedies that star women.)

Here's what he said to Variety:

It's made it pretty clear that there's a gigantic market for movies like "Bridesmaids" and movies that star women or are intended for a female audience. People assume that men will drag women into every hardcore action movie out there and that occasionally a woman will drag a guy to a romantic comedy. There's an enormous amount of stereotypes which aren't true in our industry. If you make a strong movie, which appeals to a female audience, then people will want to go see it. Most (follow-up) movies aren't good, so the only way that this trend will continue is if somebody makes another great movie. I'm sure it will happen, but it won't happen just because they're trying to make a movie with women or for women. Usually what happens with a trend like this (is) the next few aren't very good. And then people say, "Was that a fluke?" It wasn't a fluke. People just like good movies.

People do like good movies.  But the point I disagree with is that movies about men that do well get made over again and the follow-ups usually suck but they are never said to be flukes.  It's just business as usual.  Hardly any movies targeted at women ever get the chance to make a sucky follow-up (except for Sex and the City).  When the first one is a success it is called a fluke.  Women's successes are still seen as anomalous.

Q&A with Judd Apatow (Variety)

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  • zbudapest | December 22, 2011 3:58 PMReply

    The female movie goers and the television watchers are terribly underserved. Millions of us out here and NOthing much to watch. Where is the new Murphy Brown? Where is the spin off from Rosanne? Mary Tyler Moore? Where is the next vehicle for the talents like Lily Tomlin? When a female property makes money, its taken off anyway because the Hollywood 1 percent,all males, does not want women to succeed.(Joy Behar we hardly knew you!) Why not? Sickness of the minds and hearts, sexism. Men love on men a lot more in the culture then love on women.
    Its not ok to hate people of color anymore, but its ok to hate women. The men don't protest nor do they stand up against other men for the women. Where is that famous heterosexual love?
    Its a myth.

  • Julie | December 21, 2011 7:19 PMReply

    I have to give props to Judd Apatow. He's right! Feminists are not fans of Apatow on the blog world because his past movies tend to have sexism in them. But, I love the turn around with him, producing Bridesmaids and then giving this statement. Props!

    Bridesmaids was brilliant. Charlie Chaplan-Lucille-Ball...etc....brilliant! I just hope as a film fan and a woman that Hollywood will take the time to continue to make really great films like Bridesmaids that are targeted towards women. Make the movies and we will pay you money to watch them, Hollywood!!!

  • tina | December 21, 2011 3:44 PMReply

    Melissa can you spend five more min. on this paragraph?
    "People do like good movies. But the point I disagree with is that movies about men that do well get made over again and the follow-ups usually suck but they are never said to be flukes. It's just business as usual. Hardly and movies targeted at women ever get the chance to make a sucky follow-up (except for Sex and the City). The first one when it is a success is called a fluke. Women's success is still seen as anomalous."

  • Melissa Silverstein | December 21, 2011 3:52 PM

    Tina- I think I may have clarified this. Sorry for the typos and incomplete thought. Thanks for pointing it out. I read it a couple of times and of course missed it. merci.

  • stephanie rosenfeld | December 21, 2011 3:15 PMReply

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with a successful female producer who said that one thing she really, really wished was that women directors/creators/producers could have the same leeway as male ones to "make a mediocre movie." Now, I know that's the kind of comment people like to rip on, but the point is the same as the one above, and in response to the same perception: yes, excellence is the thing to strive for, but women shouldn't be held to a higher standard than men -- who make shitty movies (and a lot of money off them) all the time.

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