Asked how he viewed the state of comedy movies at the moment, Rogen had a very interesting response. “Something that me and [producing partner] Evan [Goldberg] talk about a lot is how Marvel movies are comedies,” says Rogen. “Thor: Ragnarok is a comedy. Ant-Man is a comedy at its core. So that’s what’s out there. There are $200 million comedies out there, and so that’s something, as a comedic filmmaker, to be aware of. That is the benchmark that people expect! If you’re going to make a big huge comedy, just know that your competition is, like, Marvel.”
Rogen explained that, with Marvel in the mix making big-budget comedy, people like him and his team are forced to ask, “What am I offering [audiences]?”
“That’s why something like Good Boys does well,” explains Rogen, “because we’re not offering scope. What we’re offering is pure comedy and emotion and relatability and nostalgia. That’s the trade-off. You don’t get to see the God of Thunder being hilarious, but you get to see something that maybe represents your actual life, and that’s very gratifying in another way.”
It’ll be interesting to see how comedies fare when theaters re-open. In 2019, the highest grossing comedy was the Jennifer Lopez-starring Hustlers, which brought in $157 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. That may only place Hustlers at the #50 spot on the worldwide box office chart for that year, but it still shows how mid-tier comedies can bring in a significant amount based on investment. Whether or not that’s enough remains to be seen, but Rogen is right — the MCU is absolutely impacting comedy films… along with every other kind of film while they’re at it.