For, Friday, April 20, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: What’s funny to me may not be funny to you, and vice versa. But comedies remain big box-office business (to wit: ‘I Feel Pretty’ and ‘Super Troopers 2’ opening this weekend), even if we don’t get nearly as many in theaters as we once did. These days, sci-fi, horror and fantasies dominate, but 36 years ago comedies were the bigger trend, even as raunchiness was just beginning to dominate the genre. To illustrate, here’s a ‘Hicks on Flicks’ column headlined ‘A trend toward more comedies?’ that was published on Nov. 26, 1982.

Hollywood knows what you want to see by virtue of what films make the most money. Why else would we have so many sequels? If you liked it once, you’re bound to like it again, right?

Well, right or not, trends are very important to the studios, and predictions right now are that comedies will be the next wave.

The McGinley Marketing Research Co. in Philadelphia reports that moviegoers want comedies more than fantasies, more than science fiction — even more than horror.

The survey, a “national probability sample,” showed that 73 percent of those polled want to see more comedies.


Drama was next with a much lower 46 percent.

Science-fiction films followed with 41 percent.

(The calculations exceed 100 percent because some respondents chose more than one genre.)

Successful comedies this year (in terms of making big bucks), such as “Porky’s,” “Young Doctors In Love” and Cheech & Chong’s “Things Are Tough All Over,” are barometers, of course, but to me it’s an indication of desperation.

Those movies aren’t as funny as they should be — audiences just want to laugh so badly, they’ll settle for a few yuks in a generally weak comedy.

More good comedies are what we need, along the lines of the recent “My Favorite Year.”


And the December-Christmas movie season just may bring them.

Unlike last Christmas, when dreary dramas, such as “Pennies From Heaven” and “Rollover,” dominated December, this season looks quite bright, with Dustin Hoffman, Burt Reynolds, Goldie Hawn, Sally Field, Richard Pryor, Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason and an “Airplane!” sequel among the comedic offerings.

... But will we laugh?

The studios hope so.

They’d like us to laugh them all the way to the bank.