Remember how excited people were for Jennifer Lawrence’s “raunchy” sex-comedy, No Hard Feelings? Well, it made about $85 million worldwide, which is pretty decent for a stand-alone R-rated comedy. It’s not a franchise, it was an original script, and the film starred an Oscar-winning actress. One of the reasons why the film got so much buzz is because… Hollywood rarely makes those kinds of movies anymore. The mid-budget – or even low-budget – comedy, with an original script and no merchandising tie-ins, nothing based on a game or a toy or a comic book. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, those kinds of comedies came out every other week. Some were middling, but some were great. And they just disappeared into thin air over the past ten-to-fifteen years. Well, Adam DeVine has a theory about that.
Adam Devine appeared on Theo Von’s “This Past Weekend” podcast during his press tour for Netflix’s “The Out-Laws” and shared his theory that Marvel movies and other superhero films killed the traditional Hollywood comedy. The “Workaholics” and “Pitch Perfect” alum noted that because Marvel movies rely so much on humor (see the “Ant-Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchises, for instance), they ended up becoming Hollywood’s new de facto comedy films.
“You watch comedies nowadays and you’re like, this is not a f–king comedy,” Devine said. “Where are the jokes? Where are the bits? There’s still good [comedy] shows, but movie comedy…it’s hard. My theory: I think Marvel ruined it. I feel like superhero movies ruined comedies because you go to the theater and you expect to watch something that cost $200 million to make, and comedy movies aren’t that. So you’re like, ‘Why would I spend the same amount of money to go watch a little comedy in the theater if I can spend that and watch something that is worth $200 million?’ And they still make those movies kind of funny, like, ‘Oh my god, is that raccoon talking? This is hilarious!’ Which it is, but it’s not a real comedy.”
“Every studio used to put out several comedies a year,” Devine noted. “And there were like 45 comedies in the theater per year. So every week or so, there’s a new comedy in the theaters. Now, last year, there was like 6 or 7. It’s crazy.”
I don’t think DeVine is wrong, per se, but his theory is missing the bigger picture. Yes, some of those Marvel films function as “buddy-comedies” just with a massive budget. But the larger issue is that with the success of those comic book films and the Star Wars films, Hollywood simply decided that they wouldn’t “gamble” on a moderate-budget original comedy when they could make a bigger gamble on a film which had a “built-in audience.” The same thing happened with rom-coms – instead of making comedy or romantic-comedy theatrical releases, all of that kind of thing has moved to streaming.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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