Whatever happened to Studio Comedy?

It was a time, not too long ago, when theatrically released studio comedies dominated the box and influenced the strange tastes of a myriad of fans. Back in the mid to late 2000s and into the early 2010s, studio comedies were the ‘hot’ thing; Movies like Thick head Franchises created, while stars like Seth Rogen, Steve Carell, in the Will Ferrell were Marquee Nimm. In the last few years, theatrically released studio comedies have become almost non-existent, streaming has dominated the conversation, and almost all the major comedy stars have become comfortable with streaming services.

Back in 2011 and 2012 and you find that there were a lot of hit comedies, most of them R-rated, that were affected. Movies like e.g. Bridesmaids, 21 Jump Street, Ted, in the Terrible bosses were big hits that felt like more than just your typical comedy. These were movies that had lasting power, with lots of gags that were perfect for water cooler conversations and chats before class started. Not only that, but these movies were big hits in the box; Bridesmaids made another $ 169.1 million at home, 21 Jump Street Earned $ 138.4 million, Ted has in $ 218.8 million, and Terrible bosses earned $ 117.5 million and anything other than one of those films landed sequels. The budgets on these films were not high, with the most expensive film out of the four listed Ted at $ 65 million. These films did not cost much to make and made a profit for the studio.

The cast of bridesmaids
Image via Universal Images

If you look at the late 2010s and you find that highly rated studio comedies were far and few. Game night was a huge success with critics and audiences alike, but it earned only $ 69.1 million at home, which is about half as much as what Jason Bateman‘s Identity Deep received with a similar release date and less than stellar reviews. Blocker was another comedy that did not debut even one and a half months after the release of the Bateman vehicle, which also received highly critical acclaim but did not earn much money in the home box. Meanwhile Game nightThe popularity rose during its home release, it would be easy to think that if the film had been released even four years earlier, the film would probably have done well enough to land a sequel. In fact, they are the only R-rated studio comedies to earn over $ 100 million at home between 2016 and 2019 Bad moms in the Girls Trip. As the typical wide studio comedy has become almost non-existent, the obvious answer would be because in reality this comedy does not make the same profit as before.

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The age of the movie star is slowly dying and many of the biggest stars of comedy like Adam Sandler have made comedy films almost exclusively for streamers, at varying levels of success. Kevin Hart in the Melissa McCarthy were in fact the only two comedy stars who could sell tickets on their own. After a while, the public got tired of McCarthy’s weird vehicles, with reduced returns on their comedies Life Of The Party in the The Happytime Murders. This led McCarthy to go streaming with her last two comets Superintelligence in the Thunder Force countries on HBO Max and Netflix, respectively. Hart, for the last few years, was one of the only comedy superstars left in Hollywood, but he too decided to leave the theater behind and a Multi-Film Deal starting with Netflix Me time, in which he will play together Mark Wahlberg.

The streaming route is the one that comes with an asterisk, as last year the studios had no choice but to send their movies to VOD or sell them to streamers. That being said, Borat Later Moviefilm was the first major comedy in years to become a national phenomenon when it hit Amazon Prime Video last October and later even earned some Academy Award nominations, which is quite rare for a studio comedy, be it a Continuation. The sequel had the massive advantage of being part of a well-known IP, a major marketing campaign, and being released for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Come 2 America, another high-profile comedy success was sold by Paramount to Amazon, and while it certainly did not get the same huge enthusiasm as Borat Later Moviefilm, it still managed to get one large number of viewers.

The studio comedy sees a shift. Theatrically released studio comedies are becoming less and less common, and now streaming services are coming to the fore. It’s hard to say what a movie is like Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga or Murder Mystery would have done it if they had been theatrically released, but they dominate in their streaming release. Comedy has always been a difficult genre to pull off and in the years before the pandemic, even the high concept theatrical R-rated comedies suffered not only financially but also critically; Movies like The Happytime Murders, The spy who dumped me, in the Stuber could not quite meet in all departments. Meanwhile, similar films like Spenser Confidential to be proven riseg Hits for Netflix.

It would not be fair to say that the comedy genre is dead in the water, and one would be hard pressed to find anyone who would go so far as to say so. The comedy still finds its way into being locked into many of the top movies in the box from superhero flicks to genre tariffs. Although one can really like movies Free Guy in the Jumanji: The next level to be direct comedies when in reality they are more than event films? The broad comedy genre is still alive, but debated over streaming versus theaters. Holiday friends, a comedy made by 20th Century Studios exclusively for Hulu, would have broken records and its opening weekend.

Even though these comedies are released for streamers may not be considered very real studio comedies, they are still very similar to the movies that hit theaters 9 to 10 years ago. While it’s becoming more common for big companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple to release blockbuster movies with budgets over $ 100 million on their streaming services, there are also no signs of their star-driven comedy movies leaving soon. It seems like every few years Sandler will reopen his Netflix movie deals and time will tell if Hart will follow a similar path.

Theater releases now seem to center more around event films; Movies that are guaranteed to be seen on the big screen. While it’s definitely fun to watch the latest raunchy comedy with a large interactive audience, that’s unfortunately not what the audience flocks to watch. There is always the possibility of a Bonafide studio comedy that will make waves in the box in the future, but the more streaming continues to dominate, the more the possibility shrinks.

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