In the peak of the summer movie season, a film opening in second place with a $39 million weekend isn’t really news. But when it’s a rare female-targeted blockbuster, like the buddy-cop comedy The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy—and it’s followed by The Lone Ranger, which bombed at $29 million—Hollywood gets pretty excited. “Funny ladies can open movies!” tweeted Heat director Paul Feig on June 30. “Got it, Movies?”
A sequel to The Heat was announced even before the film opened, when it was clear the movie was tracking for a big release. Feig has also said he’s looking for a star for his “female James Bond” comedy Susan Cooper and has teamed up with Chernin Entertainment to create a mother-daughter comedy. Meanwhile, McCarthy, who’s becoming one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars—Identity Thief, which she starred in earlier this year, made more than $134 million domestically—has wrapped shooting the road-trip comedy Tammy, which she co-wrote with her husband, Ben Falcone.