An offbeat comedy released in 2001, “Wet Hot American Summer” was a satire of ’80s summer camp movies, inspired by the actual experiences of writer and director David Wain. The movie’s large ensemble cast was led by members of the ’90s comedy troupe “The State” and supplemented by David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, and Christopher Meloni, alongside up-and-comers like a young Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, and Amy Poehler.
“Wet Hot American Summer” was a huge box office bomb, barely scraping up $300,000. Nevertheless, on cable and home video it quickly became a cult hit with a huge following, and in 2015 Netflix tapped into that following with a TV sequel, the mini-series “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.” Not only did the main cast all return, so did those up-and-comers like Cooper, Rudd, and Banks, who were now major stars. Proving its popularity, a host of A-listers also joined the fray, with Chris Pine, Jon Hamm, Jordan Peele, and Kristen Wiig making it a veritable Hollywood block party.
In addition, what made “First Day of Camp” so uproariously funny was that it was a prequel, yet featured actors now more than a decade older, which perfectly fit its wacky style of humor. With the band back together, the TV prequel series was even better than the movie and received its own sequel miniseries in 2017, “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.”