Pregnancy: Boom for Box Office, Boon for Starlets

Lindsay Lohan's the latest actress to jump on the baby movie bandwagon.

ByABC News
May 13, 2008, 6:21 PM

May 14, 2008 — -- It used to be that a film starring a painfully pregnant women was one of the more unpleasant parts of sixth grade health class, not something to be enjoyed with a bucket of popcorn and Milk Duds.

Not anymore.

Movies spoofing pregnancy, fertility and abortion are bigger than ever in Hollywood, proving to be a boon both for the industry and the actresses who star in them.

"Baby Mama," Tina Fey's flick about the seemingly unsexy subject of surrogate moms, scored the No. 1 spot at the box office when it opened last month.

"Juno," last year's critical darling about teen pregnancy, was the surprise hit of the Oscar season, garnering a best actress nomination for Ellen Page and a statue for stripper-turned-screenwriter Diablo Cody.

And "Knocked Up," Judd Apatow's comical look at a one-night-stand gone wrong, was one of last summer's most buzzed about blockbusters, raking in $31 million in its opening weekend and transforming "Grey's Anatomy's" Katherine Heigl into a bonafide movie star.

"Ellen Page came out of nowhere, and now she's the industry's 'It Girl.' Katherine Heigl proved her big screen mettle, that she's not just a TV actress," said Us magazine's Bradley Jacobs.

Now, Lindsay Lohan, the No. 1 starlet desperately in need of a comeback, has signed on to star in "Labor Pains," a comedy about a young woman who pretends to be pregnant to avoid getting fired.

"I think it's a much better decision on Lindsay Lohan's part to pick this role as opposed to playing a member of Charles Manson's entourage or stripping for a horror movie," said Jacobs, referring to Lohan's now-defunct part in "Manson Girls" and her starring role in 2007's less-than-stellar slasher flick "I Know Who Killed Me."

The latest delivery of pregnancy movies all have one thing in common: They're comedies. The humorous take on a subject matter that engages a key group of consumers has helped all of the recent entries rake in box office revenues.

"These movies have a very strong appeal to women," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office analysis firm Media by Numbers. "They make a lot of decisions about what movies are going to be seen, and when they get behind a movie, as we'll see with the 'Sex and the City' movie, they really boost the box office. That's a big part of why they've been so successful.