Friday, April 18, 2014

Why R-rated comedies will rule Summer 2014 at the box office

In past summers, major blockbusters with insane amounts of action and carnage have ruled the summer box office. And odds are, the same will be said for Summer 2014. The top films will probably end up being X-Men: Days of Future Past, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and possibly Guardians of the Galaxy and Maleficent. The only surefire megahit that isn't an action film is How to Train Your Dragon 2. However, the problem is that for every successful big-budget tentpole, there's one that doesn't do so hot. Edge of Tomorrow is already looking like a risky bet and Jupiter Ascending could spell trouble as well. Last summer, The Lone Ranger, After Earth, White House Down and (to a lesser degree) Pacific Rim all disappointed at the box office. Despite all of these $100 million+ flops, there's one low risk genre that consistently makes money: comedies. For years now, comedies have made a killing at the summer box office, providing us with some of the biggest smash hits in recent memory. Recently, the more specific genre of R-rated comedies has brought us films like The Hangover ($277 million), Bridesmaids ($169 million), Ted ($218 million), We're the Millers ($150 million) and The Heat ($159 million). All of those films made more than $150 million at the box office. And none of them cost more than $50 million.

Summer 2014 looks to be the strongest summer yet for R-rated comedies with five R-rated comedies that have the potential to do strong business. First up is Neighbors, the hilarious new Seth Rogen comedy that sees his character face off against a fraternity led by Teddy (Zac Efron). Having already seen the film, I can tell you that it's raunchy, crude and absolutely hilarious. With no competition for two or three weeks, this film will make a killing at the box office. A total of over $150 million is almost a given at this point in my opinion. Last summer, Rogen and friends teamed up for This is the End, which made $101 million domestically. Neighbors will make much more than that.


After that, Universal will release another comedy, A Million Ways To Die In The West, on May 30. This is the latest film from Seth MacFarlane who directed Ted. A Million Ways is probably a harder sell, but it has a great cast led by MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson and Neil Patrick Harris and it looks pretty funny. A total above $130 million wouldn't be surprising, but if this film ends up being good, I wouldn't be shocked to see it make more.

The next R-rated comedy will come in June with 22 Jump Street. Its predecessor, 21 Jump Street, made $138 million and with a prime summer release spot, 22 Jump Street is poised to make even more. The film looks pretty funny and a lot of people who saw the first one are going to want to see this one. Critically, the first film was a success as well, and if this one can get good reviews again, 22 Jump Street could end up being the biggest R-rated comedy of the summer. In addition, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are both bigger draws now than they were when 21 Jump Street came out. In the end, this movie is going to make a boatload of money.


The biggest July 4th release this year is Tammy, also an R-rated comedy. This Warner Bros. Melissa McCarthy vehicle is sure to be a hit, simply because McCarthy is starring. Her last two films made more than $130 million at the box office and she is pretty much a household name at this point. In Tammy, she plays a fast-food worker who goes on a road trip with her foul-mouthed mother. The first trailer was comedy gold and I'm really looking forward to seeing what McCarthy and her husband, director Ben Falcone, cooked up with this one. Look for this to be a huge hit as well.


The final R-rated comedy of the summer is Sony's Sex Tape, which probably will end up being the smallest hit of the bunch. Sex Tape stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as a married couple who make a sex tape which ends up going to the cloud. They have to embark on a journey to get back all of the iPads that they gave out for Christmas which the video was uploaded onto. This film probably best compares to Bad Teacher, which still grossed $100 million back in 2011. The film looks funny, but I'm still not sure how it will end up doing at the box office. Keep an eye on this one.


All in all, you're going to have a lot of smaller films making shocking amounts of money this summer. The Fault in Our Stars is going to be a huge hit, Jersey Boys and Get On Up could end up being good counter-programming and Deliver Us From Evil will be this year's version of The Conjuring. Hollywood might not get the highest grossing summer of all time, but they sure will make a lot of money.

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