Busting the BritWedCom boom: Since Four Weddings and a Funeral conquered all, UK films have been trying to recreate the magic
Four weddings and a funeral. And that was all it took. $245,700,823 (£146,923,932) at the global box office and a couple of Oscar nominations later, a genre was born. The BritWedCom. Ever since Hugh Grant stammered his swear words out, the British film industry has tried relentlessly, unashamedly, like a randy best man with the prettiest bridesmaid, to make sparks fly again.
It hasn't worked. The problem is, Richard Curtis made it look too easy with his sublimely enjoyable film. It seems like such a simple thing, to make a hit romcom out of a British wedding. It's a ready-made comedy of manners, all human life and drama is there.
There is in-built jeopardy, romance and glamour. There are parts for handsome, young talents, international guest stars and ageing character actors. The UK is overflowing with suitably picturesque venues. It rains a lot here, which can be funny. We are good at flowers and cakes.
And yet, so many illustrious comedy talents have tripped up on their zany dash to the altar since 1994. Remember 2006's Confetti which starred Jessica Stevenson, Jimmy Carr, Martin Freeman, Julia Davis and Olivia Colman, and attempted to combine the BritWedCom with the fly-on-the-wall style of The Office? No, me neither.
How about The Wedding Video with Robert Webb, Lucy Punch and Rufus Hound? It took $1.7m (£1m) at the box office in 2012 – maybe everyone was watching the Olympics. Last year Dan Mazer, producer of Borat and Brüno, had a go at subverting the BritWedCom in I Give it a Year, but aside from a cringingly terrible best man's speech from Stephen Merchant, it was largely unmemorable.
Nothing daunted, so far 2014's offerings include Almost Married ('There are stag dos... and stag don'ts!') and a Hangover knock-off called The Stag ('They're about to get in touch with their masculine side!').
Four Weddings and a hundred flops, then, but for one notable, noisy exception. In 2008, Mamma Mia! moved the BritWedCom abroad and made it musical. It took over $609m (£364m) globally and is the sixth highest-grossing film of all time at the UK box office.
Read more: Anatomy of Kate Moss's wedding dress
Kate Moss's dress takes centre stage at V&A
The first wedding dance arms race
Wedding collateral damage explained
The best make-up for brides
11.2 things I've learnt from filming 112 weddings
Busting the BritWedCom boom
Gay couples reflect on married life
Hen and stag-do strippers confess all
Naturally, that, too, has now spawned its own copycat. Walking on Sunshine – 'Do you remember your first holiday romance? Taylor does, the only problem is her sister is now marrying him...' – is set in Italy and features a soundtrack of Eighties hits. It is released this month, more will surely follow. The British film industry and wedcoms, till death do they part, indeed.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict