Published on October 14, 2020, at 7:01 p.m.
by Kathleen McManus.
Movie theaters closed, most cinematic projects were put on hold, and a few completed film productions went straight to streaming as the nation shut down for COVID-19. While nothing rivals big-screen productions, entertainment companies scrambled to find creative solutions.
Enter Nancy Meyers, known for her romantic feel-good movies such as “The Parent Trap” and “It’s Complicated.” Meyers built a loyal fan base throughout 40 years of filmmaking. With her last movie, “The Intern,” released in 2015, fans speculated that Meyers had wrapped up her successful career.
Meyers reemerged throughout 2020 in unique ways that delighted her fans. In a February article in The New York Times, Meyers shared a personal glimpse of her own life — nothing like the rom-coms she is well known for writing. In April, she posted a photograph of her kitchen on Instagram. Who cares? Meyers’ fans. They generated great social media buzz, as Meyers is known for impeccably decorating timeless sets, especially kitchens. Fans marveled at the straight-out-of-a-movie-set beauty of her personal kitchen.
As stay-at-home orders pressed on, Meyers continued connecting with her fan base. In July, the cast of “The Parent Trap” reunited for a Q&A posted on Katie Couric’s IGTV channel. Shared on the 22nd anniversary of the film’s release, audiences were delighted to see the cast on the same screen again.
But Meyers wasn’t done. If she thought her kitchen Instagram post was successful, her Sept. 10 post far surpassed previous engagement rates. An easily identifiable image from “Father of the Bride,” arguably Meyers’ most famous movie, was posted with a caption hinting something related was coming. For weeks “Father of the Bride” enthusiasts questioned what this post may mean. Was it coming to Netflix? A reunion? Or even better, a sequel?
A remake of the 1950s movie by the same name, “Father of the Bride” follows George Banks as his daughter, Annie, plans her wedding and gets married. Stars like Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Martin Short make this a fun, family movie that passes the test of time. Meyers’ film was released in 1991 and shocked box offices with its success, making $129 million and ranking ninth at the box office that year — an impressive feat for a rom-com. A sequel was released in 1995 with Annie announcing she is pregnant and George preparing to be a grandfather.
Meyers brought fans together Sept. 25 for “Father of the Bride Part 3(ish).” A short film recorded on iPhones in actors’ homes, the 25-minute special featured the Banks family responding to 2020. The film was streamed through Netflix’s YouTube and Facebook accounts. In less than 24 hours, it had more than 1 million views.
The response to the film was overwhelmingly positive and even garnered excitement from celebrities like Ina Garten and Reese Witherspoon. It created a flurry of Meyers content in other arenas, too. Following the release of the film, a new Instagram account was created with the mission to source items found in the picturesque movie sets. A preexisting Spotify playlist consisting of music from Meyers’ films saw a large increase in followers. An article in The New York Times by Meyers detailing the creation of the film was shared across Twitter.
2020 is the year that Meyers discovered unconventional ways to expand her brand and reengage her loyal audiences in a time when traditional methods were out of the question. Now the new question is, what will Meyers do next?