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Variety Blames Bad Box Office Results on … Trump

Trump Derangement Syndrome … it’s not just for pundits and politicians.

Industry bible Variety recently weighed in on how many R-rated comedies have crashed and burned at the box office this summer. Critics loathed them, and audiences felt a similar way.

“CHIPS”

“Baywatch”

“Snatched”

“Rough Night”

And now “The House”

The new comedy starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler stumbled over the weekend. An early omen? The studio didn’t allow most critics to see “The House” prior to its release. Audiences followed suit. The film earned a tepid $9 million for sixth place over the weekend. That’s a low for star Ferrell, who boasts a longer, more successful track record than Poehler.

The House Trailer #1 (2017) Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler Comedy Movie HD

Its failure, combined with the box office disappointments listed above, are more than enough to suggest a trend. The august publication shared a think piece on the reasons why each film collapsed at the box office.

What happened to our post-“Hangover” world, it asks? It’s a good question with a few possible answers. Variety tries one on for size: The RottenTomatoes.com effect:

The aforementioned movies drew some withering reviews, and audiences saw those aggregated reviews on the movie site and acted accordingly.

That certainly played a role. Then, Variety tees up the following rationale.

But why aren’t critics and audiences pleased? Another point that’s been raised is that many of the scripts produced and released this summer were sold in a pre-Trump era. The definition of what makes a good comedy has changed quickly and dramatically in the past year. “Saturday Night Live” and late-night television have captured much of the comedy zeitgeist during and especially since the election — how are movies supposed to compete? Unlike a daily or weekly television show with a team of writers reacting to that day’s trending story, most movies spend years in development before hitting the big screen. Studios can only hope that the next big idea for what comedy means today is already in the works.

Who knew that comedy changed forever on Nov. 8, 2016? No longer can we enjoy classic romps like “Fletch,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Caddyshack.” We’re living in a new age, and the old comedy rules are out the door.

Sorry, Buster Keaton, Rodney Dangerfield and Gilda Radner. We’re now under the collective sway of Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher, men whose idea of humor is making oral sex jokes about the president.

How could a “Baywatch” or “House” compete with that brilliance?

By the way, the more recent “woke” comedies have failed as well. Just look at “Snatched,” “Rough Night” and last year’s “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.” The latter should have been a perfect post-Trump release, on paper. The comedy cared deeply about feminism, role model characters and not offending anyone clinging to a safe space.

And it tanked, despite hitting theaters while Trump was rampaging through the GOP primaries.

Trump Derangement Syndrome 101

Here’s the critical segue in the Variety article: “Another point that’s been raised…” Who said that? Someone in the newsroom? Maybe the writer just doesn’t want to stake a claim to such a silly theory.

Can’t blame him.

Isn’t a publication like Variety supposed to represent the nation at large, not just those knitting vagina hats and firing off “resistance” hashtags? For roughly half the country, the world didn’t end after Trump’s election. Comedy endured as if nothing had happened.

Some are even happy to see an apolitical soul seated in the Oval Office. It’s a dog bites man story for some publications, apparently.

Just the Laughs, Please

An even larger slice of the country would love a break from politics. Most movie goers aren’t dying to be wowed by political satire 24/7. They just want to laugh. Does Variety really think that after watching a half dozen late night shows delivering Trump gags for free we’ll pay to see variations thereof at the cineplex?

The last thing many audience members want is to be reminded of the daily headlines, especially given our increasingly polarized times. A good comedy would be a fine tonic for that.

Audiences saw the trailers for “Baywatch,” “The House” and “Snatched” and said, “no, thanks.”

Baywatch Official Trailer - Teaser (2017) - Dwayne Johnson Movie

One of the mightiest entertainment outlets on the scene couldn’t look past its Trump derangement to offer some smart explanations why.

Sad! Low energy!

UPDATE: Deadline also breaks down the comedy conundrum. The site waits until the last two paragraphs to play its Trump card.

But more than anything with comedy, it all comes down to timing. And studio executives believe that what Americans find funny now in the Trump era is quite different from what was hysterical during the Obama days.

Observes one distribution sage [emphasis added], “Ya know, by the time these movies are greenlit two years out, a lot can change in regards to the nation’s sense of humor by the time of release. And you can definitely say that plenty has changed in America in recent months.”

Did Deadline check in with multiple studio executives? Or did the site rely on one mystical, magical distribution “sage?”

If our times are as troubled as these outlets suggest, wouldn’t comedies be crushing it at the box office right now?

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27 Comments

  1. The left is in constant denial of their behavior. Why the hell would I want to buy a product from someone who hates me? It’s really that simple.

  2. Why would anyone pay to watch leftists BS memes. It’s over creeps, we ain’t buying what your selling anymore.

  3. I just don’t want to give Hollywood my money!

    It’s about time we mount a serious boycott of advertisers on CNN, NYT, WaPo….find the biggest 5 common advertisers on these Media sites and show them…..A Week/Month without Conservative Dollars!

    1. lots of products and companies to try to avoid, the worst of th worst for spreading politically correct bs is the national football league, and conservatives line their pockets, not to mention the taxpayer funds the league gets
      watching pro sports puts money into the pockets of the networks to spread more anti American bs. the nfl knows this and supports it like they support every left wing cause.
      turn off ALL entertainment especially sports, tell the leagues and the networks why. the nfl can make the networks change over night..

  4. All of those movies look like crap. They’re all uncreative derivatives of Animal House. In fact CHiPs and Baywatch looked like the same movie.

    Funny is hard to define. I think Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is funny, I think A Fish Called Wanda is funny, I think Moonstruck is funny, I think Mystery Men is funny, I think Austin Powers is funny, I think Smokey and the Bandit is funny. I even think This is the End is funny.

    I also think all of those are different movies, and sequels and rip-offs of them aren’t that funny.

    And like many others have written, I don’t want my cash flowing to people trying to destroy my culture.

    1. Mystery Men was great – a real hidden gem.

      Darn shame Janeane Garofalo went hardcore left. Caught some of a segment when she was on Air America. Quite… hateful. And it’s funny how displayed hate makes a comic much less appealing in the long run…

  5. I saw California Suite many year ago. It had four vignettes in one film. One was a comedy with Bill Cosby.
    This film was full of itself. Nobody laughed much during the Cosby segment. That was a real trick considering how funny he can be.
    Before the film, the movie house showed a Three Stooges film, about 1/2 hour long. The audience was laughing their heads off. It was a great Dr. Frankenstein sendup with the mad doctor looking to find a brain from among the three stooges for his monster. They played it to the hilt.
    I saw the trailers for some of these flop comedies. At some point you have had enough sex themed jokes. Maybe people are just tired of political correctness. Maybe movies with pretty girls in skimpy clothes are no longer in short supply. Maybe the country is growing up. These movies aren’t funny.
    What passes for comedy, BTW, on SNL is pretty lame.

  6. Did they fail to factor in all of the off-screen behavior of the movie stars fronting these films?

    Studios should know by now that when your star, such as Amy Schumer, spends months telling half of America they’re bigoted, misogynist, gun-loving pigs…they will not then go see “Snatched.” When they are repeatedly lectured by Scarlet Johansen that Hillary is the smartest woman ever, and the most important issue of our times is preserving abortion/Planned Parenthood…they choose not to see “Rough Night.” And on and on.

    Maybe if their actors spent less time off-hours haranguing their potential audience they could find more people willing to pay to see them on screen.

    1. That’s a great point, but I’m thinking that the more politics-based notoriety any actor gets off-screen, the more it interferes with their ability to assume an on-screen role. This certainly isn’t an original observation on my part.

      I think the ramped-up lefty hysteria endemic to Hollywood types is even more harmful to the idea that, for instance, I’m not seeing that drugged-up loser Johnny Depp on the screen, I’m watching John Dillinger, than your run-of-the-mill stupid-actor-does-stupid-thing scandal. “Derp let’s overthrow the state comrades!” interferes with the illusion much more than “Derp I’m drunk and stupid”, for some reason.

      I’m almost afraid to put Public Enemies on again.

    2. You’re right Libby. Going to the movies is expensive and a chore, why go to be insulted. Another factor is that these movies are simply not funny. As for “Rough Night” and “Snatched”, I think the whole “drunken skank= empowered women” genre has run it’s course.

  7. In a way they are correct. Trump is a big factor. It was Trump derangement that led a lot of Hollywood people to say hateful things that convinced half the country to be very choosy about where they spend their money. It is a lesson Hollywood best learn very quickly.

  8. Why should I pay $10 to be insulted, plus another $10 in snacks?

    They aren’t funny because there is a small window the thought police will allow as humor.

    I know they hate me so I pick and choose.

    ABC/Disney chose to cancel their 3rd highest-rated show just because. I never watched it, but the message has been sent.

  9. It is hard to look at the movies this year and think that anything is really wrong… with audiences. They’ve rewarded things that were above average (Get Out, Logan, Baby Driver) and ignored obvious-at-50-paces stinkers. How is this a problem?

  10. Same rules apply now as a year ago.
    Comedies need to be funny.
    Dramas need to be moving.
    Maybe your films just suck?

  11. The only time “Hollywood” turns out a good movie anymore, is when some exec has the good, rare sense to distribute a flick made by a non-Hollywood producer.

  12. haven’t been in a theater in over 30 years and will not until ALL of hollywood reforms and ALL of the anti American idiots are run out of town. which means no movies

    child abuse, thieves, and worse .. no thank you

  13. Baywatch was a big budget R rated comedy that had no female nudity, and naked women are the cheapest special effect. There goes at least half of the audience.

    1. More like 90% of the audience of baywatch.

      Or did they forget that people watched it primarily to see Pamela Lee Anderson run in a bathing suit, not for the Hoff.

  14. Here’s a free one; do a re-imagining of Friday, that old Ice Cube vehicle but have it set on last election day and call it Tuesday. I know, right??

  15. History suggests quite the opposite–in politically challenging times, people seek out escapist entertainment to get away from the world for a couple of hours. It should be easier, rather than harder, for good comedy to find a large audience.

    I will also suggest that while celebrities taking political positions is off-putting, most people will put that aside for a really good product

    They just don’t want to admit that their products are derivative, thrice-boiled over, PC-infected crap. And the mention of PC is not so much political as truthful, as stated by any number of comics who have said they don’t play college campuses any more because they cannot do good humor in front of all the PC scolds.

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