"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.

Illustration Tim Gabor
In hits such as The Wedding Singer, Adam Sandler has proven that a male perspective draws men to romantic comedies.
1998 New Line Cinema
In hits such as The Wedding Singer, Adam Sandler has proven that a male perspective draws men to romantic comedies.

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 that month, 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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2 comments
cr0sh
cr0sh

Regarding the comments on "men": Any man who won't own up to enjoying a rom-com, or feels "uncomfortable" holding his wife's purse is, in my opinion, anything but a real man. 

I love an occasional rom-com; hell, my wife and I got married with the Wedding Singer's album playing in the background. What Women Want was fun and hilarious, despite Gibson since going off his rocker.

And I'll sling my wife's purse over my shoulder any day, whether it's while she shops, or just to give her a break carrying it (damn thing is heavy!). To hell with what other people think! I'm a man - I have nothing to prove to anyone else.

Jukes
Jukes

The young women who used to spur the rom-com audience are now more into the undead than the unfulfilled.  I was seated in a mall restaurant recently next to a group of women who looked to be average age 20,  Their whole conversation was about TV programs and movies that were post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, or contained characters who were facing very troubled times, like a heroine who stages her own death or a woman coming to terms her sex-related addictions ... not romance.  

They talked about special powers to control others or see the future as if people really have things like that.  One of them was showing off a "zombie bite" she had painted on herself.  After the oohs and aahs, it was declared "very realistic."  Seriously, what does it look like if you're bitten by a "real" zombie?  Judging by what this age groups seek out as entertainment (young men as well as young women), it seems we have an entire generation spending their time immersing themselves in worlds far, far different than the one they live in. Perhaps they're the children encouraged to read Harry Potter, all grown up now.  

 

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