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Are stars of romantic comedies doomed?
"Good luck to Kate and Reese," says one former studio chief, arguing that Hudson and Witherspoon are facing a dwindling demand for films like Legally Blonde
 
Kate Hudson, pigeon-holed as a romantic-comedy actress, hasn't had a real hit for years.
Kate Hudson, pigeon-holed as a romantic-comedy actress, hasn't had a real hit for years.
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Moviegoers are falling out of love with Hollywood's once bankable leading ladies, according to New York. The magazine recently conducted an analysis of the career of Oscar nominee Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), whose romantic comedy A Little Bit of Heaven opened to an atrocious $9,800 this weekend, consulting a panel of former studio chiefs, agents, and industry insiders. The diagnosis: Established romantic comedy stars don't sell movies anymore. "These actresses? They're fucked," said one expert. "Good luck to Kate and Reese [Witherspoon]. When Cameron [Diaz] was getting cold, she bet on herself, took just a million dollars on Bad Teacher. But even that's not a romantic comedy. The mid-budget studio film — what used to be the sweet spot for romantic comedy — is getting painfully squeezed." The How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days/Legally Blonde-type roles that Hudson and Witherspoon relied on are disappearing, so "either they take the roles that are available and then get punished because the material is bad, or if they wait, they get punished for not working enough.” Is there any hope for these rom-com stars?

The formula has aged and so have the stars: "The old formulas are just too old," says Dodai Stewart at Jezebel. Once When Harry Met Sally became a hit, theaters were flooded with movies about quirky blonde girls falling in love. Hudson, Witherspoon, and Diaz, among other starlets, played the concept to death. Now, these aging actresses need newer, fresher projects that are tailored to their evolving talents, but "those kinds of movies aren't being written." Even when they are — like Young Adult last year for Charlize Theron — they tend not to do well at the box office. Sadly, "this is what we do to women who are no longer fresh little twenty-somethings: Forget about them."
"The truth about women and Hollywood: These actresses? They're fucked. Good luck to Kate and Reese."

It's time to diversify the genre: Romantic comedies aren't dead, says Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress. Formulaic, whitewashed ones are. Think Like a Man topped the box office two weeks in a row, proving that "people of color turn out to be somewhat more dedicated moviegoers than white folks." The average Latino moviegoer goes to 5.3 movies per year, and the average African American goes to 3.7. White moviegoers: 3.5. Perhaps the answer to Hollywood's rom-com woes is to cast more people who reflect the demographics that are actually attending movies.
"MPAA; Latinos are America's most dedicated moviegoers"

Kate Hudson shouldn't be part of this conversation: A Little Bit of Heaven is an abysmal film, says Lou Lumenick at The New York Post. With its release, "Kate Hudson's unprecedented losing streak remains unbroken." The one-time Oscar nominee hasn't made a decent movie since Almost Famous, and that was an astonishing 12 years ago. "Even Nicolas Cage can't say that." Heaven resorts to the "hoariest cliches of the romantic comedy genre," and Hudson's performance is positively laugh-free. Why did this particular rom-com fail? It, like most of Hudson's work, is awful.
"Son of a Bit, it couldn't be worse"

 

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