Comedy movies have taken a toll at the box office this summer. What’s going on with this and how can it be fixed?
Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. have taken a hit with Baywatch, Rough Night, and The House, respectively. I’ve seen and reviewed both Baywatch and Rough Night. The House, however, was not screened for critics.
Baywatch has struggled since it’s release. It’s made just over $57 million against a $69 million budget. It’s going to struggle to make that money back now that the film is less than 500 theaters. It certainly doesn’t help that Baywatch is a movie that missed on just about every mark. Tonally speaking, it didn’t even know what type of movie it wanted to be. Make no mistake that Paramount wanted the movie to pave the way for a successful franchise but it appears to be unlikely at this rate.
Rough Night has earned just over 19 million through June 29th against a $20 million production budget. The film opened on June 16th with just over $8 million over the three-day weekend. During the second weekend in theaters, the movie saw a 41% drop at the box office. This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t bring in such a low amount during the opening weekend. During the current weekend, the theater count dropped to 1,657 theaters from 3,162 theaters– a drop of 47.6%. A drop in screens after two weeks does tend to be normal but a movie like Wonder Woman didn’t lose nearly as many screens after two weeks of release.
Finally, The House. What happened here? The comedy was reportedly made on a $40 million production budget but it’s going to be a complete loss for Warner Bros. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler are funny comedians but not everything they touch will turn to gold. An estimated $9.3 million opening is the worst Ferrell opening in his career–even worse than A Night at the Roxbury and that’s a movie that doesn’t play so well on rewatch (I couldn’t delete it off my DVR quick enough when I tried).
Comedy isn’t in a complete drought this summer. There’s one indie that will be a hit with both fans and critics alike: The Big Sick. While the flick will not going completely wide until July 14th, it’s going to pick up a following through word of mouth, positive reviews, and talk of awards contention. It could just be that the party subgenre has worn out its welcome for a bit. Other indie comedies this summer include Band Aid and The Little Hours. Unlike The Big Sick, these two smaller indies won’t be getting the wide release to help build a following through word of mouth.