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Romantic Comedies – No Happily Ever After?
By Jeremy Carroll, Staff Writer
In this modern climate of ever-changing tastes, interests and caffeinated beverages, sometimes it’s nice to sit down to a simple, safe, yet fun date night movie, more commonly known as the “romantic comedy.” Romantic movies such as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Footloose” have been the favorites of couples and women for years. However, in light of the current financial climate of Hollywood, it looks like there will not be a “happy ever after” for the romantic comedy. According to producer Lynda Obst, the genre is simply going extinct.
Obst relayed her distress over the current status of her beloved “rom coms” in a recent interview with Movieguide TV. “Sometimes the new date movie is a horror movie. Which makes me so depressed.”
Lynda has had a successful career in the movie business from helping develop scripts for movies like FLASHDANCE, to producing hit romantic comedies like SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS. However, she has noticed a fundamental shift in they way studios market movies today.
“What they [the studios] saw was,” she says, “that all of their profits were not coming from DVDs but the foreign markets. So, rom coms don’t really work in the new business model.”
She goes on to explain that foreign markets only want recognizable movies such as “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 or IRON MAN 3.
Lynda isn’t alone. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Director Michael Sucsy says, “The trouble has arisen from the fact that easy marketing and original stories seem to be working at cross-purposes — high-concept loglines might be easier to sell in a 30-second ad, but that doesn’t mean they make better movies.” This means that studios see romantic comedies as a financial risk rather than an investment.
Obst continues to push for romantic comedies, but the support is not there from the studios. “I say to young girls, do you really want to see a horror movie? Do you really want to see someone chopped up and dismembered? They say, ‘Yeah!’ I say, ‘I don’t believe you.’ I think they are programmed to want that because that’s all there is!”
There’s another reason recent romantic comedies haven’t done so well, notes MOVIEGUIDE® Founder and Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr:
“Unlike blockbuster successes and MOVIEGUIDE® Award winning romantic comedies like MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, RUNAWAY BRIDE, MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, ENCHANTED, or Disney’s romantic comedy fairy tale TANGLED, for that matter,” he said, “recent romantic comedies have alienated the vast majority of moviegoers, many of whom are Christian believers or traditional values voters, with off-color, lewd content, foul language, Non-Christian values, and other gross content.
“People love humor, but moviegoers also crave uplifting, inspiring, well-structured, family-friendly stories with a positive worldview.”
Lynda herself has seen the signs in Hollywood and has had to move onto different producing endeavors, as evidenced by her producing of Christopher Nolan’s latest science fiction movie, INTERSTELLAR. Obst also co-produced the Movieguide® Award nominated TV series THE SOUL MAN, a show about a singer who gets “the calling” to become a preacher in his father’s church.
- Source: The Hollywood Reporter, 09/26/13.