Fox has signed "Bridesmaids" director Paul Feig to write and direct films for the studio under his Feigco Entertainment banner, the first overall deal for talent the studio has made since Jim Gianopulos took over as the sole chairman and CEO.
Feig, who created "Freaks & Geeks" and has directed episodes of top TV comedies like "The Office," will make commercial comedies a la "The Hangover." The director is already working with Fox and its partner Peter Chernin on "The Heat." That film, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, opens in April.
"I had an amazing time working with the gang at Fox on 'The Heat' and am very excited to team up with them to make as many commercial comedies as humanly possible," Feig said in a statement. "I've also been looking to expand my carbon footprint and so their extreme distance from Burbank allows me that much-desired opportunity."
For Fox, which released the R-rated "Prometheus," "The Watch" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" last summer, this deal signals a new commitment to provocative but bankable comedies. Though the studio has a strong reptutation for R-rated action fare, its top comedy partners like Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films and Shawn Levy's 21 Laps have had the most sucess with lighter comedies like "Night at the Museum."
At least one R-rated comedy has found great success at the box office each of the past few summers, from "The Hangover" and its sequel to "Bridesmaids" to "Ted."
Critics have routinely lavished Feig's work with praise, but commercial sucess had varied project to project. His addition to the Fox family is part of a pivot to a more talent-friendly regime at Fox, which has long been one of the most cost-conscious studios in Hollywood.
"Paul is a fantastic filmmaker whose character-based comedies are filled with emotion and insight," Emma Watts, Fox's president of prodcution said in a statement. "He is a creative force that the best talent is drawn to. We couldn't be more excited for him to have a home at Fox."