Summer Loser: The R-Rated Comedy

(L to R) Blair (Zoë Kravitz), Alice (Jillian Bell), Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Frankie (Illana Grazer) and Pippa (Kate McKinnon) in Columbia Pictures’ ROUGH NIGHT. Photo credit: Macall B. Polay.

The R-rated comedy is going to need to be revamped heading into next year because aside from Girls Trip, they landed with a dud.  The best comedies this summer were all indie comedies and I’ll have more on that when I visit the summer winners on Monday.

Snatched, starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, opened against King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.  But a front-loaded opening weekend of $19 million wasn’t enough to keep it going.  Produced for $42 million, Fox barely broken even as Snatched made $45 million in the states and another $14.6 million across the globe.

Baywatch was one of the earlier summer comedies to hit against the surf over Memorial Day weekend.  Led by Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, Paramount hoped that the movie could launch a franchise but it was missing everything that made the series a success for so many years.  The film finished domestically with just shy of $60 million and another $199.6 million around the globe.  It was produced for $69 million and couldn’t even recoup that in the US.

The House looked stupid from the previews despite a cast headlined by Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler.  My dad doesn’t usually go see Will Ferrell movies but both he and my mom saw The House, a film that I actually passed on as the poor reviews started to come out.  Directed by a former assistant to Judd Apatow, Andrew Jay Cohen, the film couldn’t even get off the ground when it was released at the end of June.  The film made just over $25 million in just two full months of release.  Think about it.  Ferrell and Poehler, two of comedy’s biggest names, couldn’t even draw their usual audience to see this mess.

Another R-rated comedy that suffered the fates of the box office was Sony Pictures comedy Rough Night.  The Bridesmaids-wannabe came from a pair of Broad City writers, Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello.  With it’s all-star cast of Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, and Kate McKinnon, there was no excuse for Rough Night to open as poorly as it did against 47 Meters Down back in mid-June.  Rough Night was a dud with just over $22 million.  It doubled its box office worldwide but $46 million overall is nothing to run home about.

Opening over Labor Day weekend but playing the entire month of August on DirecTV was The Layover.  Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario star in this hot mess that was somehow directed by William H. Macy.  Whether this movie will actually earn anything remains to be seen.  It’s one of the worst films this year and an assistant director tells me that he barely even worked on the film but nobody seemed to be invested in the work.

Going into next year, the studios will need to rethink their R-rated comedies.  They can’t keep trying to remake Superbad, The Hangover, Bridesmaids, or Neighbors because the genre gets stale.  The only reason The Hitman’s Bodyguard has brought in just shy of $60 million in over two weeks is because there’s been no major new releases to open on August 25th or September 1st.  The action comedy isn’t even that great but it’s still able to get butts in the seats.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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