Who Killed the Romantic Comedy?

Rom-coms used to be a cash cow and wildly popular with audiences. What happened?

"There's a perception among the industry that they don't work, but I think it's the type of romantic comedy that has been made that perhaps doesn't work," Think Like a Man executive producer Will Packer says.

Interestingly, while 85 percent of black audiences were aware of Think Like a Man before it opened (and 70 percent expressed "definite interest" in buying a ticket), only 37 percent of white moviegoers even knew it existed.

There's a parallel here: Black audiences, like female audiences, have been historically underserved by Hollywood. Only a handful of filmmakers — Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels and up-and-coming director Tim Story — are making films for an audience all too hungry to see its stories on-screen. In return, they've been richly rewarded by moviegoers.

Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson in How Do You Know (2010), a pricey, star-filled flop.
David James, 2010 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.
Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson in How Do You Know (2010), a pricey, star-filled flop.
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler play divorced parents in Blended, to be released in May.
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler play divorced parents in Blended, to be released in May.

Packer continues to prove that he's found a romantic-comedy model that works. On Valentine's Day weekend, he reteamed with Hart for About Last Night. It cost $12.5 million and opened to $25.7 million. By the time he and Hart make it a three-peat with May's Think Like a Man Too, perhaps the major studios will catch on.

If Sandler and Barrymore's Blended also does well, expect to see industry pundits clutching their Ouija boards and proclaiming that the romantic comedy has been resurrected. But not so fast. Its murderer is still on the loose — and it will kill again.

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4 comments
J_A_
J_A_

Great article! I'm growing tired of all the "dick flicks" and crave a good rom-com. I absolutely loved It's Complicated and Something's Got To Give. Apparently the only folks falling in love are over the age of 50 and black people. I loved Why Did I Get Married by the way.

Torchness
Torchness

Great article.  A minor FYI-- "romantic" is spelled wrong in the link; when I posted the article on FB, it showed up mispelled.

blankcur1
blankcur1

What would you call the Best Man Holiday? Chick - Flick. #50

 

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