WOMEN
03/10/2013 12:11 pm ET

Why Are Romantic Comedies So Bad?

The romantic comedy has fallen on tough times. After a decade of essentially printing money, the genre abruptly ran out of box-office steam in 2012. As the producer Lynda Obst, a rom-com doyenne (Sleepless in Seattle, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), told New York magazine’s Vulture blog in December, “It is the hardest time of my 30 years in the business.” In a departure from Februaries gone by, the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day this year were devoid of a single helping of romantic froth featuring Drew Barrymore or Kate Hudson or any of the multitude of Jennifers. No 50 First Dates. No Fool’s Gold. No He’s Just Not That Into You. So what happened? A range of explanations have been offered, from studios ever more obsessed with blockbuster franchises to a generation of moviegoers less starry-eyed than their predecessors.

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