Paul Feig's follow-up to the gender-defying Bridesmaids was ushered into UK cinemas by supportive critics and very positive reviews. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy received universally high praise for their comedy turns in The Heat as FBI agent Ashburn and Boston cop Mullins.
UK audiences have responded in force - the film took just over 2.5M pounds on 440 screens, pipped to the number one spot by Smurfs 2 (3.2M pounds). The numbers are not quite as high as the opening weekend of Bridesmaids, which took 3.4M pounds two years ago. The competition at the family friendly box office is tough for a film that is rated 15 and in 2D. Of the top fifteen grossing films in UK cinemas last weekend, eight are rated 12A or U and seven are in 3D.
The success of The Heat has prompted debate about women's films, including questions about the value of applying the tried and tested, male buddy-film formula to two female leads (Anne Billson's article in The Telegraph) - The Heat is to Beverly Hills Cop what Bridesmaids was to The Hangover, women behaving like men in typically male roles. But critics and commentators seem to agree that, formula or no formula, the film works - it is funny, Bullock and McCarthy are funny and we want to see more funny women making funny films.