The benefit preview of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 on March in Loew’s theater on West 68th Street in Manhattan proved a love-in, a laugh-in and a boffo success.
An enthusiastic audience of 1100 filmgoers broke into spontaneous handclapping as Greek music opened the film and they welcomed the original characters into their hearts like old friends and family members.
The original Greek Wedding, a low-budget sleeper, produced for a mere $5 million, was a blockbuster, grossing 368.7 million worldwide. Nia Vardalos earned an Oscar nomination for her screenplay, and Windex as a cure-all entered our consciousness. If the preview’s audience is a barometer, Greek Wedding 2 looks like another Big Fat winner.
Vardalos herself, in a simple black dress, greeted the audience, thanking them in Greek and English. “Who has brought their non-Greek friends?” the actress asked. “Whether you’re Greek, Polish, or from Peru, I’m so happy that you recognize your own families in this film. I love you.” Costar John Corbett welcomed the audience as did Nicholas Katsoris.
The President of the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation, Katsoris orchestrated the benefit showing for his organization with the help of Vardalos. “We started out with one theatre,” said Katsoris, “and the response was so overwhelming that we added a second theatre. We sold out in a day and a half, and Nia graciously agreed to go to both theatres and introduce the film.”
Katsoris also worked with Philoptochos society groups across the country to arrange screenings for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. “Nia has given a gift to the community,” he says. “I’ve never seen such an outpouring across the country. It’s like we’re one big Greek family and she’s our cousin Nia. She’s very sincere. She’s very giving. She narrated one of my Loukoumi books, and we did a book tour together. She’s terrifically humble and real, and I think that comes through in her films. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 has brought the Greek community together like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
The crowd leaving the theatre looked happy. George T. Constantin, president and CEO of Heritage Realty Services, commented, “It was fabulous. Great. It hit all the right points. It was a fun movie to watch.” Susan Maksomski, an occupational therapist and proud Greek/Irish American said: “It was even funnier than the first movie. It was wonderful to see all the same characters again.”