7 Things You Didn't Know About 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'

by Adam Pliskin

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" came out over 12 years ago, and, as we reported earlier today, is getting a big fat sequel.

It's a testament to the film that we're still talking about it and are still interested in it, more than a decade later. The film was something of a cultural phenomenon when it was released and made an instant star out of Nia Vardalos.

Much of the film's popularity seems to stem from its deep cultural roots and its reflection of America as a melting pot, where love and friendship can conquer ethnic ties, language barriers and ingrained familial biases.

So, we did some digging to find out a little more about this delightful film. Here are 7 things you probably didn't know about "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

1. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is the second most profitable film of all time

Although the film only had a $6 million budget, it ended up doing big business and pulled in $369 million worldwide. The movie made 61 times its budget in profit and, for that reason, is considered the second most profitable film ever.

The most profitable film of all time is "Paranormal Activity," which raked in a staggering 12,890 times its budget.

2. It is the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time

After making $241 million domestically, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" became the highest-grossing rom-com ever. It unseated the Mel Gibson flick, "What Women Want," which grossed over $180 million in the US. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is also the highest-grossing film never to be number one at the box office for any given weekend.

3. Tom Hanks produced it

Tom Hanks produced the film with his company, Playtone Pictures. Apparently, Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, saw the play on which the film was based and told her husband that she thought it should be turned into a movie.

When Hanks contacted Vardalos about the idea, Vardalos hung up on him because she thought someone was playing a prank on her.

4. Nia Vardalos wrote it because she couldn't land any other roles

Nia Vardalos was a struggling actor living in LA before she wrote the one-woman play that she eventually turned into the film. She had difficulty landing roles because she didn't fit any specific Hollywood archetype.

As she said in an interview,

I wasn't ethnic enough, not white enough, not fat enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough.

So, she took matters into her own hands and wrote a great part that was perfect for her.

5. The cast and crew never had to pay for catering

The small indie film saved a ton of money by not having to pay for catering while shooting. This is is because wherever they were shooting, local Greek restaurants would send over free food. It wouldn't be a big fat Greek wedding without gyros and baklava, after all!

6. Everyone on the bride's side during the wedding scene is part of Nia Vardalos' actual family

This is a prime case of art imitating life. Nia had her whole family act as, well, her whole family for the eponymous wedding scene.

When you're making an indie film, you have to save money wherever you can and not having to pay for extras certainly helped the film come in at a lean $6 million. Also, it's a nice touch to be able to share such a moment with your real-life loved ones.

 7. Though it is set in Chicago, it was filmed mostly in Toronto

In the film, Nia's character Toula lives and works in what is meant to be Chicago. However, much of the film was shot in Toronto. In fact, multiple scenes were shot at Vardalos' alma mater, Ryerson University, which is located in Toronto.

The film itself is said to be based on life in the Greek community of Winnipeg, Canada.