Legally Blonde (franchise)

Legally Blonde (stylized as LEGALLY blonde) is an American media franchise created by Amanda Brown. It consists of American comedy films, a Broadway musical, a reality television series, and a upcoming television series. The films include two theatrical releases, one musical television film, one straight-to-home video release, and a third theatrical film in development. The installments follow the comical adventures of Elle Woods, portrayed by actress Reese Witherspoon in the films, a blonde California University of Los Angeles sorority president, who enrolls in law school.[1]

Legally Blonde
Official franchise logo
Created byAmanda Brown
Original workLegally Blonde (2001)
by Amanda Brown
OwnerAmazon MGM Studios
Print publications
Novel(s)Legally Blonde (2001)
Films and television
Television seriesLegally Blonde: The Musical – The Search for Elle Woods (2008 reality series)
Television film(s)
Theatrical presentations
Musical(s)Legally Blonde (2007–2022)
Soundtrack(s)Legally Blonde: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Origin edit

The media franchise is based on the 2001 novel, Legally Blonde, written by Amanda Brown. The novel was based on Brown's experiences while enrolled in Stanford Law School.[2]

Elle Woods, a blonde California University of Los Angeles sorority president and homecoming queen, is deeply in love with her college sweetheart, Warner Huntington III. When Warner enrolls in Harvard Law School and aims to find a girl more serious than Elle to be his wife, Elle schemes a plan to follow him there to win him back.

Films edit

Film U.S.release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producers
Legally Blonde July 13, 2001 (2001-07-13) Robert Luketic Kirsten Smith & Karen McCullah Lutz Marc Platt & Ric Kidney
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde July 2, 2003 (2003-07-02) Charles Herman-Wurmfeld Kate Kondell Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake & Kate Kondell Marc Platt, David Nicksay, Jennifer Simpson & Stephen Traxler

Legally Blonde (2001) edit

Former Sorority President Elle Woods is happy and in love with her boyfriend. She wants nothing more than to be married, and become Mrs. Warner Huntington III. Huntington, however will not propose stating that she is "too blonde". Determined to win him over, and prove to herself that there's more to her than her looks, Elle rallies all of her resources and applies for the law program at Harvard University.[3]

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) edit

Elle travels to Washington, D.C., determined to present her stance for animal rights. Ignored by every one she encounters, she learns that the Capitol can be more difficult to navigate than The Ivy League university law school from which she attained her J.D. degree. After befriending, and gaining the sympathy of a Massachusetts congresswoman named Victoria Rudd, Elle attains the chance of getting to present her arguments. To make a difference, she must convince the Legislature to take her seriously.[4]

Television series edit

Elle (2025) edit

In June 2018, Reese Witherspoon entered negotiations with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to produce and star in a third installment in the Legally Blonde film series. Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith were hired as co-screenwriters.[5] MGM later confirmed in a Twitter post that Legally Blonde 3 was set to be released on May 8, 2020,[6] though it did not meet this date. In May 2020, it was announced that Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor would write an entirely new script for the film.[7]

In April 2023, it was announced that after acquiring MGM, Amazon has plans to expand the franchise with the aforementioned film, as well as a television series in development.[8]

On May 14, 2024, Amazon Prime Video announced a new upcoming 2025 prequel series, Elle.[9][10][11] In a statement, Reese Witherspoon, who hosted the announcement, said that viewers "will get to know how Elle Woods navigated her world as a teenager with her distinct personality and ingenuity, in ways that only our beloved Elle could do."[9]

Television films edit

Film U.S.
release date
Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producers
Legally Blonde 2003 Charles Herman-Wurmfeld Rachel Sweet Marc Platt, Rachel Sweet and John Whitman
Legally Blonde: The Musical October 13, 2007 (2007-10-13) Beth McCarthy-Miller & Jerry Mitchell Heather Hach Marta Ravin
Legally Blondes April 28, 2009 (2009-04-28) Savage Steve Holland Chad Gomez Creasey & Dara Resnik Creasey Marc Platt, Reese Witherspoon, Sean McNamara, Jennifer Simpson, Sara Berrisford, David Brookwell, Hudson Hickman, David Buelow and David Grace

Legally Blonde (2003) edit

Originally filmed as the pilot episode of a cancelled television series, Legally Blonde aired through private viewing television in 2003. Jennifer Hall stars as Elle Woods, with the series intended to adapt the many misadventures she encountered as a former-sorority sister at Harvard University. The network executives ultimately passed on ordering a season for the series. In 2017, the film was widely released on YouTube as a television film, and was received with negative reviews.[12][13][14]

Legally Blonde: The Musical (2007) edit

Three performances of the Broadway musical was filmed and aired on MTV in 2007. The television adaptation was co-directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller and Jerry Mitchell, from a script by Heather Hach, with music and lyrics were co-written by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin.

Legally Blondes (2009) edit

With Elle Woods away as a successful lobbyist in Washington D.C., her two younger British cousins Annabelle "Annie" Woods and Isabelle "Izzy" Woods (played by Camilla and Rebecca Rosso) move to California to live in her home. The pair learn that they will be attending the Pacific Preparatory School and they upset the dominant social set of their fashion tastes and personalities.[15] Originally intended as the pilot film of a cancelled television series, Legally Blondes began airing on ABC Family and Disney Channel on April 28, 2009, simultaneous with a direct-to-DVD release.

Cast and characters edit

List indicator(s)
  • A dark gray cell indicates that the character was not in the film or that the character's presence in the film has yet to be announced.
  • An A indicates an appearance through archival footage or stills.
  • A C indicates a cameo role.
  • A U indicates an uncredited role.
  • A P indicates a photographic role.
Character Films Television series Television films
Legally Blonde Legally Blonde 2:
Red, White & Blonde
Elle Legally Blonde Legally Blonde:
The Musical
Legally Blondes
2001 2003 2025 2003 2007 2009
Elle Woods Reese Witherspoon Jennifer Hall Laura Bell Bundy Reese WitherspoonAP
Paulette Bonafonté Jennifer Coolidge Orfeh
Emmett Richmond Luke Wilson Christian Borle
Bruiser Woods Moonie Various dogs
Vivian/Vivienne Kensington Selma Blair Kate Shindle
Margot Chapman Jessica Cauffiel Annaleigh Ashford
Serena McGuire Alanna Ubach Tracy Jai Edwards
UPS Guy Bruce Thomas Andy Karl
Warner Huntington III Matthew Davis Richard H. Blake
Professor Callahan Victor Garber Michael Rupert
Brooke Taylor-Windham Ali Larter Nikki Snelson
Chutney Windham Linda Cardellini Kate Wetherhead
Dewey Newcombe John KapelosU Andy Karl
Enid Wexler Meredith Scott Lynn Natalie Joy Johnson
Enrique Salvatore / Nikos Greg Serano Manuel Herrera
Mrs. Woods (Elle's mother)
Courtney & Whitney
Tane McClure Gaelen Gilliland
Mr. Woods (Elle's father) James Read Kevin Pariseau
Chuck / Carlos Jason Christopher Matthew Risch
Judge Marina R. Bickford Francesca P. Roberts Amber Efé
DA Joyce Riley Shannon O'Hurley Michelle Kittrell
Arrogant Aaron Kelly Nyks Noah Weisberg
Professor Elspeth Stromwell Holland Taylor
David Kidney Oz Perkins
Harvard Admissions Counselor Wayne Federman
Mrs. Windham-Vandermark Raquel Welch
Amy Kimberly McCullough
CULA Advisor Allyce Beasley
Tiffany Donohugh Jennifer Tisdale Brittany Curran
Victoria Rudd Sally Field
Grace Rossiter Regina King
Sid Post Bob Newhart
Stan Marks Bruce McGill
Libby Hauser Dana Ivey
Bruiser's Mom Gidget
Reena Giuliani Mary Lynn Rajskub
Timothy McGinn J. Barton
Kevin Sam Pancake
Security Guard Octavia Spencer
Becky Sarah ShahiU
Congressional Intern Masi OkaU
Pilar Asmeret Ghebremichael
Pforzhiemer Jason Gillman
Annabelle "Annie" Woods Camilla Rosso
Isabelle "Izzy" Woods Rebecca Rosso
Headmistress Elsa Higgins Lisa Banes
Mr. Richard Woods Christopher Cousins
Mr. Gary Golden Curtis Armstrong
Sylvia Rose Abdoo
Christopher Lopez Bobby Campo
Justin Whitley Chad Broskey
Ashley Meadows Chloe Bridges
Ms. Chang Amy Hill
Brad Wellington Christoph Sanders
Marcie Tanya Chisholm
Vivek Kunal Sharma
Rainbow Teo Olivares

Reality series edit

A reality competition television series in conjunction with the musical titled Legally Blonde: The Musical – The Search for Elle Woods debuted on MTV in 2008.[16] The show debuted on June 2, 2008 as a competition show, where the winner would be cast in the lead role. Bailey Hanks ultimately won, and in addition to being cast in the starring role, was given the opportunity to record her own single of the musical's first-act number titled, "So Much Better". The show concluded on July 21, 2008. Autumn Hurlbert was the runner up. She served as Hanks' understudy and performed in the ensemble of the show. Bundy's last performance in the musical was on July 20, 2008. Hanks began performances on July 23, 2008 and remained with the show until it closed on October 19, 2008.[17]

Stage edit

A Legally Blonde musical debuted in 2007,[18] with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. It premiered in pre-Broadway tryouts in San Francisco, California. In April 2007 the show moved to Broadway, opening to mixed reviews. Jerry Mitchell directed and choreographed. The original cast starred Laura Bell Bundy as Elle, Christian Borle as Emmett and Richard H. Blake as Warner. It received seven Tony nominations and ten Drama Desk nominations but did not win any.

Novels edit

Following the release of the feature film, a series of teenage novels based jointly on the original book and the film series followed. Written by Natalie Standiford, the book series follows the continued adventures of Elle Woods.[19][20]

Reception edit

Box office and financial performance edit

Film Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Worldwide
Total income
North America Other territories Worldwide All-time
North America
Legally Blonde $96,493,426 $45,315,809 $141,809,235 #786 #1,872 $18,000,000 $123,809,235 [21][22]
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde $90,639,088 $34,700,000 $125,339,088 #843 #2,221 $45,000,000 $80,339,088 [23][24]

Critical response edit

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Cinemascore[25]
Legally Blonde 71% (150 reviews)[26] 59 (32 reviews)[27] A−
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde 37% (156 reviews)[28] 47 (39 reviews)[29] B

References edit

  1. ^ Bohn, Casey (October 24, 2016). "Jackie v. Marilyn: The Surprisingly Complex Identity Politics Of LEGALLY BLONDE".
  2. ^ Silverman, Amy (October 30, 2003). "Legally Brown". Phoenix New Times.
  3. ^ "Legally Blonde". July 7, 2001.
  4. ^ "Legally Blonde 2: Red White & Blonde". July 2003.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (June 4, 2018). "Reese Witherspoon in Talks to Return for 'Legally Blonde 3'". Variety. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  6. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 25, 2019). "'Morbius' & 'Ghostbusters' Solidify Summer 2020 Release Dates". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  7. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 18, 2020). "'Legally Blonde 3': Mindy Kaling & Dan Goor Giving Fresh Take To MGM-Hello Sunshine Sequel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; White, Peter (April 14, 2023). "'Robocop,' 'Stargate', 'Legally Blonde' & 'Barbershop' Among Titles In Works For Film & TV As Amazon Looks To Supercharge MGM IP". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 15, 2023.
  9. ^ a b "'Legally Blonde' is Getting a Prequel Series, 'Elle,' And Here's Everything You Need to Know About It". Cosmopolitan. May 14, 2024. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  10. ^ Morrow, Brendan. "Elle Woods goes to high school in Reese Witherspoon-produced 'Legally Blonde' prequel". USA TODAY. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  11. ^ Yandoli, Krystie Lee (May 14, 2024). "'Legally Blonde' Prequel Series Set About Elle Woods' High School Years". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 14, 2024.
  12. ^ "Legally Blonde (TV Movie 2003)". IMDb.
  13. ^ Failed and Unaired Pilots Tv (March 9, 2017). "Legally Blonde 2003Unsold Pilot". YouTube.
  14. ^ Anna Green (April 4, 2016). "10 Strange and Amazing TV Pilots the Networks Passed On". mental_floss.
  15. ^ "Legally Blondes (2008)".
  16. ^ Hale, Mike (June 9, 2008). "Suspense Is, Like, Totally Total". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Hetrick, Adam (October 18, 2008). "Case Closed: Legally Blonde Ends Broadway Run Oct. 19". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  18. ^ Brantley, Ben (April 30, 2007). "Candy Worship in the Temple of the Prom Queen". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "Juvenile Series and Sequels Title: Elle Woods". Mid-Continent Public Library. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015.
  20. ^ "Legally Elle Woods".
  21. ^ "Legally Blonde (2001) - Financial Information".
  22. ^ "Legally Blonde".
  23. ^ "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) - Financial Information".
  24. ^ "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde".
  25. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on April 13, 2022. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  26. ^ "Legally Blonde (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  27. ^ "Legally Blonde". Metacritic. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  28. ^ "Legally Blonde 2 – Red, White & Blonde". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  29. ^ "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde". Metacritic. Retrieved May 24, 2020.

External links edit