Sandra Bullock Sucker Punches Nia Vardalos in B.O. Championship, Female Lead Division


Look, I liked Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side as much as the next guy, but let's take this Sandy Phenomenon one step at a time. Today both Variety and The Wrap cited Blind Side as "the first film driven solely by a top female star to cross $200 million at the domestic box office." Wow. That's not very nice. Let's go back to 2002 for a minute, preferably with our guide, the real first $200 million woman Nia Vardalos.

That year (2002-03, 52 weeks total to be precise) was when the Vardalos-written and -starring My Big Fat Greek Wedding climbed to a $241,438,208 domestic gross. It never exceeded 2,016 screens, and only held that number for two weeks. Wedding, too, earned Oscar talk for its leading lady -- in the screenplay category, alas, where distributor IFC Films successfully lobbied Vardalos for a nomination. Factor in Wedding's $127.3 million in foreign box office, and it remains one of the biggest independent-film success stories from a performer of either gender in movie history.

Thus one can only assume it was Warner Bros. or Bullock's people or some combination of both who planted the story in the trades, which allowed for every condition in the book to add this pseudo-milestone to the actress's 2009 trophy case. (And also entitled Variety to namecheck distant runners-up Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and, yes, the decidedly non-star Vardalos for good measure.) I mean, The Blind Side would have eventually surpassed $241 million, wouldn't it? Couldn't we have had this coronation at that time, without the insulting qualifiers for Bullock and the mean-spirited class warfare against Vardalos? Oscar gets the picture, already -- and so do the rest of us.

· Sandra Bullock Makes History [Variety]


  • Martini Shark says:

    Just another example of the blatant xenophobia Hollywood has always held against female thespians of Greek lineage -- C.S.I. New York being the exception.

  • ralph says:

    Naw, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" doesn't count because it's what MADE Vardalos a star. Come to think of it, it didn't even do that. It was one of those movie-is-the-star dealios as opposed to "The Blind Side," which was a star vehicle.
    So: They were right, you were wrong, and I remain unemployed and therefore have time to mediate such matters.
    Hey speaking of star vehicles, how about that Jayson Williams DUI?

  • ZombieStrike says:

    Yes, what Ralph said. Quote from article: "the first pic in history driven solely by a top female star" means what it means. Big Fat Greek wasn't driven solely by a top female star, or by any star -- it racked up quite a few firsts and set many records, but it was not driven solely by a top female star. It *was* driven by an unknown female writer director -- surely there's a record somewhere in there, right?

  • Tommy Marx says:

    Hate to ruin a pointless rant, but "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" features not one, not two, but SIX names above the title on the movie poster including three women (Vardalos, Lane Kazan, and Andrea Martin). The poster for "The Blind Side" has one name listed above the title, in a font almost as big as the movie title. I think Variety and The Wrap got it right.

  • happygolucky says:

    When I think of MBFGW, I think of Nia. Thanks for the numbers STV and I agree that Bullock's camp jumped the gun.

  • This argument about the Blind Side poster is just silly. Bullock's face isn't even on it, and her anonymous figure is dwarfed by a football player -- whose sport's fans flocked to help make this a hit. Plus it had the faith-based crowd, plus it was based on a bestselling book. I wouldn't deny Blind Side is a star vehicle, but nobody else can deny it wasn't sold like one.

  • Jamie says:

    As a lady writer/performer, I look up to Nia Vardalos (despite having a different style completely) and I'm glad you cleared this up. I'm happy for Sandra Bullock, but I think Nia's is the bigger achievement.

  • Tommy Marx says:

    I understand your point, but I respectfully disagree. The only reason I was even interested in seeing the movie was because Sandra Bullock was in it. That's also the only reason I went to see "The Proposal" (although nothing could make me see "All About Steve" - that just looked awful). Sandra Bullock is a star, and I remember she went on a talkshow tour promoting this movie. As for MBFGW, most people had never heard of Vardalos when that movie opened. If I remember correctly, the majority of the publicity centered around the fact that it was produced by Mr. and Mrs. Hanks.
    If you want to make fun of anything, I think it would be more appropriate to ridicule the ridiculous way the press announces "achievements" anymore. Seriously, when we start using phrases like "the third biggest non-animated non-sequel or established franchise opening on a non-holiday February", clearly we're stretching.
    Variety was correct. "The Blind Side" was "the first film driven solely by a top female star to cross $200 million at the domestic box office". Why that's actually an achievement is what should be under discussion - just how specific do box office records have to get before they are completely meaningless?
    And by the way, giving this dubious distinction to "The Blind Side" in no way diminishes what MBFGW accomplished. But it does seem like comparing apples to oranges. Sandra Bullock was the only above-the-title credit on "The Blind Side". Nia had to share that billing with five other people, including a former member of N*Sync. Based on how Variety worded it, MBFGW does not qualify.

  • Merrik says:

    I'm not sure where the confusion comes from here. “The first film driven solely by a top female star to cross $200 million at the domestic box office.” Sandra Bullock's name is the only name to appear before title of the film in the credits. That's what is really meant by this statement, and it holds true. Sandra Bullock, is the only female actor to ever solo headline a film, that passed $200 million at the domestic box office. My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Not the case. No actors appeared before the title of the film in the credits. Nia Vardalos was absolutely the top billed female in the film, but she wasn't the solo billed star of the film. People are looking for a way to discredit this record, when they can't. It's a very narrowly defined record, and one that holds true. So in a way, yes, the poster arguement holds up as well. Solely. People are ignoring that key word just to try and somehow bring down this record. No one is discrediting Nia Vardalos' amazing accomplishment with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this is simply a different record than all the ones that film, and Nia Vardalos herself, set.

  • Jennifer says:

    They said "by a TOP female star." Nia Vardalos was unknown at the time M.B.F.G.W was released so, really, their statement stands true...

  • Jennifer says:

    I just finished reading this blog/post/whatever after submitting my first comment and feel compelled to comment again: "mean-spirited class warfare?!?!" Really??? Oh, my gosh, get a freaking grip. Why don't you rant about something worthy of the effort instead of some imagined insult...seriously...

  • Jess says:

    Some people still don't don't who, Nia Vardalos, is...even after having watched 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'. Just about everyone knows of Sandra Bullock.