During the past few years, Hollywood has seen a big increase in the release of raunchy comedies (a.k.a. R-rated). Many people in the movie industry attribute this to producer and director Judd Apatow, whose hugely successful 40 Year Old Virgin was largely responsible for the influx of movies like Kocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad and The Hangover and for plummeting actors like Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill and Zach Galifianakis from unknowns to household names.
You might argue that this was the summer of superheros since Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class were released. However, although these movies performed fairly well at the box office, with the exception of Green Lantern (it had a budget of $200 Million but only brought in about $116 Million at US box office), I think their success was overshadowed by that of the R-rated comedies.
The Change-Up, which completely flopped, especially had a lot going for it. A great cast: Ryan Reynolds is always popular with audiences; Jason Bateman was everywhere this year (Paul, Horrible Bosses). A fun premise: a new take on the body switching premise. And an R-rating.
However, as you can see from the box office results, being a raunchy comedy – even with big names like Justin Timberlake and Ryan Reynolds – doesn’t guarantee success at the box office. For success, the movie has to be somewhat funny, The Hangover Part II being the exception.
In case you want to check out the trailers for these comedies: