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THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100

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    44. Women of Bridesmaids
    44
    The Women of 'Bridesmaids'
    Seven months and $288 million worldwide earnings later, the women of "Bridesmaids" are more than sitting pretty.

    Annie Mumolo admits she was clueless as to the provocative nature of the film she was co-writing with Kristen Wiig -- and for that, she is grateful. "I was pregnant when we were writing it and I was pregnant while we were shooting," says Mumolo, 38, a longtime friend of Wiig's from The Groundlings comedy troupe. "To have had the added pressure of knowing that people thought this movie was going to fail? Too much!"

    Whoever thought a bawdy comedy starring mostly women wouldn't work ate a lot of humble wedding cake the weekend of May 13, when Universal's Judd Apatow-produced Bridesmaids had an opening weekend of nearly $25 million -- proving that women were not only funny but could also write a damn funny movie.

    PHOTOS: THR's 2011 Women in Entertainment Power 100

    "Honestly, we never saw any of that coming," says Wiig, 38 of the prerelease naysaying. "Six women on a poster was suddenly this subversive act. It made me cringe!"

    Seven months and $288 million worldwide earnings later (the largest haul of any Apatow comedy), the women of Bridesmaids are more than sitting pretty: Mumolo landed a development deal at ABC just weeks after Bridesmaids opened, and Wiig, still an SNL centerpiece, is exec-producing  and starring opposite Matt Dillon and Annette Bening in the feature Imogene and is set to appear opposite Robert De Niro in the Sean Penn-directed dramedy Comedian.

    The rest of the cast is also thriving: Scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy (another Groundlings member), still fresh off her Emmy win for Mike & Molly, scored a deal to co-write with her husband (and Bridesmaids co-actor Ben Falcone) Tammy, a road-trip comedy for New Line; Ellie Kemper (The Office) will appear in the remake of 21 Jump Street; Wendi McLendon-Covey (Reno 911!) co-stars in the Fox comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter; SNL alum Maya Rudolph is a lead in the NBC comedy Up All Night; and Damages' Rose Byrne just wrapped the feature drama The Place Beyond the Pines alongside Ryan Gosling.

    As for Mumolo, who appears alongside McCarthy again in Apatow's next film, This Is Forty, she is heartened by how "people are much more open to my ideas now," though she admits she needed a bit of a recuperation period before jumping back into the creative saddle. "I got very overwhelmed for a while," she says. "It really feels like Kristen and I had a baby together."

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