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R-rated comedies rating highly at the summer box office

R-rated comedies rating highly at the summer box office (photo)

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At Badass Digest, Devin Faraci has a piece entitled “The Summer of The R-Rated Comedy,” declaring that the success of movies like “The Hangover Part II” ($250.8 million and counting), “Bridesmaids” ($158.1 million and counting), “Bad Teacher” ($78.7 million and counting) and the just released “Horrible Bosses” ($28.1 million in its opening weekend, better than the family-friendly “Zookeeper”) means that “R-rated comedies are back in a big way.”

“The story coming into Summer 2011 was that we had a whole bunch of superhero movies on deck; well, none of those have really set the world on fire (although ‘Thor’ has done okay), but it’s the quiet legion of R-rated movies that have really cleaned up.

This was something I was considering too as I looked over the weekend’s box office chart. On Friday, I was listening to local radio, and several DJs who have a sort of fantasy box office league, betting on which movies will open the biggest, were discussing the weekend’s releases. The unquestioned given amongst all three guys was that “Zookeeper” was going to be the highest grossing new movie of the weekend, and that it would flatten the competition. That didn’t turn out to be the case; it made $21.0 million to “Horrible Bosses” $28.1. Now you might say that had something to do with marketing, or star power (“Zookeeper” had just Kevin James on the poster; “Horrible Bosses” had Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell and Jason Bateman and Kevin Spacey) or the fact that “Zookeeper” looked carcinogenically bad. But “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” had all of those problems in 2009 and became a surprise hit. So maybe there is something to this R-rated renaissance.

When comparing this particular batch of R-rated comedies, it may be worth nothing something else about them: these are not R-rated movies aimed at teenagers. These aren’t stories about teenagers getting laid, or teenagers going to college and getting laid, or college kids who get laid off on a wacky road trip, getting laid. These are all films about adults; immature, foul-mouthed adults, yes, but adults all the same. They’re not sex comedies. And right now there aren’t a lot of mainstream options out there for adults in theaters. If you don’t want Terrence Malick or Woody Allen, you either take an R-rated comedy or risk date night on super-heroes or animated talking cars or pandas.

I guess we should also acknowledge that these films, are, to varying degrees, all pretty good too. We might to be having this discussion about “Bridesmaids” if it wasn’t funny and smart about female relationships, or about “Horrible Bosses” if the film didn’t have a pretty crackerjack murder/revenge plot. “Bridesmaids” has been a huge word-of-mouth hit; by now it’s $26.2 million opening is just an unusually low 16% of its total gross (“Pirates 4” opening weekend, for example, accounts for 38% of its total gross). But again: “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was a massive hit. So you never know.

Faraci says the lesson of this summer is to “be cheap. Make the movies cheaply and you will make a profit on them.” As I wrote last week, Hollywood studios have already started taking the advice, thanks to comedies’ weak box office overseas. And just to throw a little cold water on this whole R-rated comedy renaissance, let’s consider how these movies have done internationally. With the exception of “The Hangover Part II” (everyone loves a face tattoo joke), they’re not anywhere near as successful in foreign countries as they are here. Despite being the biggest surprise hit of the summer in the United States, “Bridesmaids” has made just $48.5 million abroad. Some of its grosses are crazy low. It made only $37,342 in Iceland. Come on Iceland! “Horrible Bosses” hasn’t opened internationally yet, but “Zookeeper” has; when you combine domestic and foreign box office together, it’s made more money than “Horrible Bosses.” Cue ominous dramatic music.

So it’s the summer of R-rated comedies here. Everywhere else, it’s pretty much the summer of “Transformers” and “Pirates 4.” Which means there’s a very good chance this summer won’t be endless.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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