Over the course of the past several years, the lack of cult classic stoner comedies like Superbad and The Hangover have become rarities. The lack of these types of comedies is surprising, and disappointing for many moviegoers especially considering the fact that 10 years ago this genre was a force.
The Hangover II grossed $581 million in global ticket sales, on just an $80 million dollar budget. Unfortunately, the writing has been on the wall for stoner comedies for a while now. Here are just a few reasons why Hollywood left stoner comedies by the wayside.
Superhero movies have replaced them
Since Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) kicked off with Iron Man back in 2008, it’s been no secret that superhero movies would be the next big blockbuster movie genre. On just a $141 million dollar budget, Iron Man took in more than $585 million globally. The public’s appetite for new stories and characters on the silver screen doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon either. In 2021 alone, the MCU released three different films. Making matters worse for comedy fans is that many of the films incorporate enough humor to fill the void for most casual moviegoers.
Writers haven’t adjusted to politically charged times
Another reason stoner comedies aren’t as popular as they once were is because the times are so much different from the genre’s peak. Movies throughout the past couple of decades have the benefit of being created during a calmer social climate.
Simply put, writing comedies has become more difficult and writers haven’t been able to adjust writing styles to fit the times while still making audiences laugh like they used to. That has led to more emphasis being placed on other genres like action, horror and romance. While those genres are thriving, stoner comedy fans are left to wonder how long they’ll have to wait for the next cult classic.
It’s harder for writers to pitch ideas to major studios
Since major studios have put their focus and investment into other genres, it’s harder for writers who are attempting to create them to get the traction necessary for their films to go into production. That relegates them to streaming platforms like Hulu and Netflix. While it’s great that there’s an alternative, the problem with being limited to streaming is that most people are likely going to scroll right past those films, which perpetuates the narrative that people just aren’t that interested in funny movies anymore. That continues to make fans wonder how long it will take before major studios refocus their attention on the stoner comedies that introduced moviegoers to beloved personalities like Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill.
Since the public appetite for stoner comedies continues to build, the best thing moviegoers can do is reminisce on the classics that are available to watch on streaming. Given the talented crop of actors in Hollywood who would excel in stoner comedy roles, fans should continue to hold out hope that major movie studios will eventually reinvest resources back into this genre.