According to Seth Rogen, the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is making it tougher to launch big-screen comedies.
Promoting his new HBO Max comedy “An American Pickle” in an interview with Games Radar, the Vancouver-born filmmaker explained how the cinematic landscape has changed since “Iron Man” ushered in the Marvel era at the box office.
“What’s funny is, I’ve been told for the last 10 years that midsize comedies are dying. Yet, throughout that time, luckily we’ve been able to release enough midsize comedies that have done well that they keep allowing us to make them,” said Rogen, 38. “Movies like ‘Sausage Party’ and ‘Blockers’ have managed to do really, really well, even though they’re the exact type of thing that people say doesn’t do that well. But then every once in a while we’ll have a ‘Neighbors’ that does really, really, really well. It allows us to keep making them.”
However, he noted that some Marvel movies have become unexpected competition for comedy movies.
“That being said, something that me and [producing partner] Evan [Goldberg] talk about a lot is how Marvel movies are comedies. ‘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. Not to say you should not make those types of films, but know that’s what audiences are seeing, and that, when you see those movies in theatres, they are playing like comedies. They are legitimately funny and star comedy stars.”
That new dynamic, he explained, has led to a shift in strategy.
“That’s something we talk about a lot — just to be aware of as filmmakers. These huge-budget films function like comedies. Audiences still love comedy, and they want that — ‘Deadpool’ — but the scope of them is huge,” Rogen added.
“So when you’re not offering them that scope, you have to think, What am I offering them? That’s why something like ‘Good Boys’ does well, because we’re not offering scope,” he said. “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.”