Rom-Coms are not in a good place right now, as lamented by The Atlantic and our very own Tracy Moore. The chart above–based on figures from Box Office Mojo–shows just how badly the genre has tanked, as inflation-adjusted domestic ticket receipts (left axis) have plummeted despite a huge number of releases (line thickness). At the same time, traditionally male-oriented Superhero movies have seen a meteoric rise. What happened?
Let's start with 1986 to 1988, the dawn of a Golden Age for Rom-Coms. Moonstruck and Working Girl were both major hits, and the genre sold $1.6 billion in tickets over three years (adjusted to 2012 dollars, as are all figures in this article). This was followed by When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Pretty Woman (1990), and Sleepless in Seattle (1993), all of which topped $170 million. In two of these films, the sole protagonist is a woman. Two more were written and/or directed by Nora Ephron. That leaves Pretty Woman, where Julia Roberts stole the fucking show. Plenty of men saw these movies–you can't win the box office by excluding an entire gender–but these films were undeniably aimed at a female audience.
In 1998, we got a taste of what was to come. Ephron's You've Got Mail earned $163 million, but got crushed by There's Something About Mary. This was not a female-targeted movie: the protagonist was Ben Stiller, it was kind of explicitly about male stalking, and the surprise cameo was Brett Favre. It made $249 million. Ticket sales would hit an all time high in the next few years–$2.6 billion in sales from 2001 to 2003, thanks in part to the out-of-nowhere success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding–but the groundwork for disaster was laid.
From 2004 to 2006, more "Rom-Coms" were released than ever before, but total receipts plummeted 40 percent. The top four hits were Hitch, 50 First Dates, The Break-Up, and Along Came Polly, respectively starring Will Smith, Adam Sandler, Vince Vaughn, and Adam Sandler again Ben Stiller.* They made an average of $150 million, $99 million shy of the surprisingly well-acclaimed Mary. Studios were dipping back into the same well–why don't we try making Rom-Coms for men?–but finding there wasn't a lot of water down there to begin with.
Things might slowly be improving. 2009's The Proposal isn't a classic, but it did make $175 million with a female protagonist. Silver Linings Playbook was 2012's highest-grossing Rom-Com-like thing, and that was about as honest as you can get about sex and relationships and still earn $132 million. The vast majority of what's out there is still shitty though. There's plenty that's problematic about Superhero movies, but they know who their audience is and advertise accordingly. For Rom-Coms to become successful again, they have to go back and find the audiences that made them so successful in the first place.
*Jennifer Aniston co-starred in two of these films. Meg Ryan she ain't.
Two important caveats on this data. First, classifying movies by genre is messy and subjective. Second, Box Office Mojo doesn't claim to have a complete database of all releases since 1980 (although it describes itself as "the most comprehensive database on the Internet.") It's possible that the rise in Rom-Com releases is tied to recent data being more readily available, but the fact that less Rom-Coms seem to have been released in the last few years compared to a decade earlier is a good sign that there's a real trend here.
The world rejoiced last week when, for a moment, rumors and reality became one and it was revealed that Blue Ivy would have a new sibling, one Red Vine. But with the light of a new week growing strong, dreams have been crushed and we'll just have to drown our sorrows in a bunch of lemon drops or something because Beyoncé is reportedly NOT pregnant.
Hot 97's Old Man Ebro went on air Monday morning to explain that since he and Jay-Z are email buddies, he waited a day or so and sent his congratulations and love along to Jay and Bey. He received the following heartbreaking response this weekend:
"He said 'It's not true...the news is worse than blogs.'"
OUCH. Don't do me like that.
In case you're heart is crying out "SAY IT AIN'T SO," Ebro stands by his email correspondance with the rapper; he joked that he hoped H.O.V.A. hadn't "been catfishing me...for the last five years." Looks like we'll just have to wait a little longer for Lil' Purple Rain. Or my personal favorite, winner of the Most Boring Baby Ever Award:
Image via Ramon Espinosa/AP
Because why not, some gadzillionaire has invested in the Titanic II, an exact replica of that one crazy cruise ship that was so full of love, giant diamonds, and, uh, death, and apparently lonely boners and sad hearts are already willing to pay $1 million to be a bourgie guest at the Neue Titanic. But what if you're a peasant? No worries — you can work on the Titanic II.
Applications for crew and for captain have been flowing in faster than how I would assume water would rush into a ship when it knocks into an iceberg. Eight people have already applied to be Captain. Alas, that death wish shall only be granted to one lucky person!
According to Palmer, the normal crew will be earning a "pretty similar [wage] to other cruise ships but there will be a certain elitism to say you've worked on Titanic II," and employees' cabins will be better than the passengers' (WHAT?! For peasants?). But most importantly, Palmer thinks "you'd fall in love and get married. It will be a ship full of love." Uh-huh.
General crew for cruises don't exactly make mad bank — they can make as low as $800/month — and we all now from the shit ship a few months ago that the crew's cabin is essentially a hundred backed-up toilets with mattresses. Oh and did I mention shit? Yes, shit.
Anyways, if you've always felt ready to jump for love and take that risk but are too poor to do it just for fun, apply now.
You may recall the recent Kardashian Khroma Kurfuffle in which the Klan decided to name their makeup line a name that was already taken by another makeup line. This ended in the family actually losing a court case and having to name their line something boring and normal like Kardashian Beauty. Now they're being attacked from another, much more nefarious party: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.
According to the Daily News, The State of New York alleges Rich Soil, a company Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom run, is selling a shirt – which comes in a tank or a black or white t-shirt, each at the low low price of $35 – that looks way too similar to the logo used by the Department of Agriculture of New York State:
"'The State of New York has invested substantial time, effort and resources creating the respect and goodwill associated with the trademark,' Susan Rosenthal, a lawyer for the Department of Agriculture, argued in a letter sent to Rich Soil on Friday.
The letter demanded that Los Angeles-based company immediately halt the sale and advertisement of merchandise featuring the logo — and provide an estimate as to how much money it has made off of the design.
If Rich Soil fails to respond, Rosenthal warned, the state will take legal action."
Let's just imagine the scenario in which a design from the New York Department of Agriculture ended up across the breasts of 1/3 of America's most valuable commodity:
Khloe: Honey, we really need some new inspiration for our shirts.
Khloe: What do you think about just using some copy and images from my favorite website, http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/PrideOfNY/p...? I just associate so much goodwill with them. They have crunchy apples. They have wine that's so great "you can almost taste the pride." They have "fresh and processed products that never go out of season."
Khloe: We can "Be part of the Pride" by selling a product that has this logo affixed to it. It will declare us one of "the generations of family farms and food processors who have made New York State one of America’s leading suppliers of food and agricultural products."
Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty
Kaitlyn Hunt's parents knew their 18-year-old daughter was dating a 15-year-old girl whom she met through classes and varsity sports at the Florida high school the two attended. But when the younger girl's parents learned about the relationship, they had Kaitlyn arrested on two counts of felony lewd and lascivious battery on a child ages 12 to 16. Kaitlyn must now choose whether to go to trial — if found guilty, she'd have to register as a sex offender and could serve up to 15 years in prison — or accept a plea deal of two years' house arrest and one year of probation. The Hunts hope growing publicity will pressure the state to drop her case and focus on protecting and educating teenagers instead of prosecuting them for falling in consensual love.
Steven Hunt told Jezebel in a phone interview that his daughter Kaitlyn, whom friends and family call "Kate," grew close with her 15-year-old former girlfriend through classes and the varsity basketball team the two played on at Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, Fla; the younger girl was a freshman student enrolled in International Baccalaureate courses with upperclassmen, so they were peers in the same social circle. Kate's mother, Kelley Hunt Smith, wrote on Facebook that the two girls hung out with the family at their home and before basketball games. Since Kelley had seen the girl's father at sporting events, she assumed her family knew about and accepted the relationship. Kate had always dated boys, but when she told her mother she was dating a girl, Kelley "didn’t want to make it a big deal," she wrote. "I talked to her about it, and figured it was just a social thing, times have changed and a lot of kids are experimenting, so I didn’t make much of it."
"We knew about her sexual preference for a long time," Steve said. "It wasn't an issue for us."
But it was an issue for her former girlfriend's parents. When the girls' basketball coach found out the two were dating, she kicked Kate off the team and told the younger girl's parents, who told police. That's when Kate was arrested. According to Kelley:
On Saturday February 16th our families world was shattered and our daughters nightmare begun. The police came to our home and arrested my daughter, put her in hand cuffs and we had no idea why. They refused to tell us anything at first because she had turned 18. Kate was ripped out of our arms, terrified, crying hysterically. My younger daughter was there at the time, my husband and myself, we were mortified. They finally told us she was being arrested on “probable cause”. I asked them probable cause of what, they said sexual battery on a person 12-16 years old. My heart dropped, I knew then that it had to have been her girlfriend's parents. These people never came to us as parents, never tried to speak to us, didn’t try to get the school involved to speak to us and tell us they had a problem with the girls dating, not one single word. Instead, they set out their vengeance and had my child arrested on FELONY charges.
Kate, who agreed to cut off contact with her former girlfriend and was subsequently expelled weeks before graduation to boot, has until Friday to decide whether to go to trial or take the plea deal. Her parents don't want her to choose either option.
“The (assistant) state attorney, Brian Workman needs to use taxpayers money to prosecute REAL criminals, not a high school student who has never been in trouble a day in her young life, all because she had a mutual consenting relationship with someone who has bigoted parents,” wrote Hunt Smith. "...they feel like my daughter “made” their daughter gay. They are bigoted, religious zeolites that see being gay as a sin and wrong, and they blame my daughter."
Kate's father said this case highlights glaring problems with age-of-consent laws and sex-education. The age of consent in Florida is 18, but should 18-year-old high schoolers really be responsible for setting boundaries with the 14 to 17-year-olds who take the same classes and participate in the same after-school activities as they do? "There's no education at her school that describes what to do and what not to do within a consensual relationship in terms of age," Steve said. "The fact that this was a same-sex relationship was clearly the motivation factor [behind the arrest]. But this law is ridiculous regardless of whether teenagers are gay or straight."
From the "Free Kate" Facebook page:
The law needs to change, not only to protect Kate, but to protect the millions of teenagers, boys and girls, straight and gay, whose lives are regularly ruined because parents disapprove of their children's sexual choices. We want justice for all 18-year-old high school seniors who have undergone criminal prosecution for exercising poor judgement in their dating life. Such students are not predators. They're just kids. Likewise, we believe the law should not be arbitrarily enforced based on a parent's anger. Parents should be empowered to protect their children, but not at the price of destroying another young person's life forever.
The Hunts have launched a Change.org petition, which has over 52K signatures, and a fundraising site to help with extensive legal fees. "Kate is strong but scared," Steve said. "We hope she gets her freedom soon."
Image via Facebook.
A growing number of experts are arguing that—as far as mental health is concerned—pre-menstrual syndrome is a culture-bound syndrome, meaning that it's diagnosis is based on societal expectations of how women should behave and feel, instead of biological reasoning.
The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) was published over the weekend, but the "bible" of mental health has become increasingly controversial. It describes and categorizes mental illnesses by their symptoms to be used as a guide for diagnosis. But one criticism, according leading mental health experts, is that those symptoms are "cultural constructions, not global certainties"—meaning that "crazy" in one place could be "normal" in another.
Some disorders that fall under the umbrella of potentially culture-bound rather than biological are depression and PMS, wherein "the patient displays symptoms that are recognized as indicating a particular illness only by other members of that patient's cultural group."
In 1987, Thomas S Johnson claimed that the symptoms were an expression of "conflicting societal expectations" on women. In 2012, a meta-analysis of published research failed to find evidence that negative mood correlates to the pre-menstrual phase of the menstrual cycle. And earlier this year, a qualitative study found that a "cognitive reframing" of the symptoms could reduce self-reported pre-menstrual distress.
Of course, that doesn't mean that depression or PMS aren't real illnesses with real symptoms for those suffering from them, but a "diagnostic inflation" might be at play, with women being told that they have PMS as a sort of convenient excuse for their moods, which aren't particularly agreeable. It brings an old Gloria Steinem quote to mind:
If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?
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The brand-new Shimmy Club in Glasgow, Scotland has allegedly celebrated its opening by installing two-way mirrors in some of its private rooms. Aye, aye, creepiness!
Scottish newspaper, Express, claims to have seen photos showing a group of young men with a clear view of women using the bathroom. They also say that the nightclub hasn't posted any signs alerting patrons to the restrooms that nightmares built. Lovely.
According to Express, a spokesman for the nightclub insists it doesn't allow male or mixed-sex groups to hire the rooms that have the mirrors. That's interesting, considering Express claims "a photograph on the venue’s own Facebook site shows two young women in a bathroom while a man looks on from the other side of the mirror." I've checked out quite a few photos on the club's Facebook page, and while there are tons of charming pics like this, I haven't seen any proof of the alleged bathroom mirror situation. That said, it's quite possible that photos were taken down after the Express story broke, or that I missed them.
However, the existence of the mirrors was corroborated by female Shimmy Club patrons:
One horrified young woman contacted this newspaper to complain about the venue, saying: “I was completely shocked to discover that the mirror in the ladies’ bathroom is a two-way mirror facing out onto the club.
Ye gads. If that's true, it's fucking disgusting — and, I'm wondering, if it even legal? ANy Scottish law experts in the house?? Because it feels like it should be really illegal, but lord knows legal systems often don't get it right.
Unlike the stuffy, proper garments you see at movie star events, the dress code at music award shows is usually a little wacky, very risqué and a lot of fun. And last night at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, instead of good, bad, and ugly, the style was more good, bad, and ass-hanging-out.
Let's start with the gentlemen. Keeping things very casual, like they don't even give a fuck: Roshan Fagan; Ed Sheeran; SkyBlu of LMFAO.
Trying a little harder: Psy; Will.i.am; Chris Brown.
Downright dapper: NBA player Chandler Parsons; David Arquette. And then there's Mike Tyson, spreading a message of peace.
Cute, coordinating couples: Rosie and Sophia Grace are adorably age-appropriate and pretty in pink; Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne are hell-bent for leather; Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose are both into black on black and big smiles.
Usually we save the best for last, but today we'll reserve the ass for last. And so, representing for The Good category: Taylor Swift. She often veers toward whites and neutrals, but short, glittery sapphire blue — with a bright pink lip — is great on her.
Also good: Miley Cyrus doing her best Harley Quinn. It's a jumpsuit, it's bedazzled, it's crocheted, it has zippers, it's weird and it's cool and I like it.
Karolina Kurkova wore dark, goth version of this gown at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, but it's a happy, bright poppy look for Selena Gomez. A teeny bit revealing, but just in a flirty way.
Good, but not terribly exciting: Hayden Panettiere in a flattering column; Jennifer Lopez doing her usual LOOK AT MY BODY™; Nicki Minaj in flowing Melisandre Red Priestess realness.
Pretty good, but almost meh: Kimberly Perry (of The Band Perry); Jennifer Nettles; Shania Twain.
On the fence about these: In junior high I would have loved the prommy Black Swan meets Toddlers & Tiaras gown Ariana Grande is rocking. Sheer, dotty slink actually looks great on Emmy Rossum; but we could do without Carly Rae Jepsen's navel and skirt-tails, no?
Let's move on to The Bad. Short, tight, black and gold: Shaun Robinson; Kacey Musgraves; Audrina Patridge.
The little black number on Rocsi Diaz seems a tad ill-fitting. Alyssa Milano's luxe tunic with one bare shoulder is great, but those sheer-leg trousers are hideous. Castle is fun and Stana Katic's thick thick hair is gorgeous but that jumpsuit is not doing good things for her feet, legs, crotch or sternum. Add a fedora and you're in gangster girl costume territory.
Sometimes The Ugly category is pretty exciting. For instance: Z Lala longs to be Gaga but comes off as an exploded Jiffy Pop package. Fly away. Poor Nayer seems confused about the weather forecast — gloves and a hood and a cuddle buddy, but no shirt? Hmm. As for Jenny McCarthy, someone needs to take away her scissors, STAT.
Last, but not least: The Asses. Ke$ha must have seen Gwyneth's hindquarters last month and felt a twinge of jealousy. It's aiight girl! We'll look at your glutes too, no problem. And isn't this rather subdued for Ke$ha? Is everything okay?
Finally, Jennifer Morrison decided that a bony bustier/sheer skirted-dress worn with satiny briefs would be a cheeky idea. She was right.
Images via Getty.
Twitter for terriers. Facebook for Frenchies. Grindr for greyhounds. All great ideas, but the truth is that there just aren't enough social networking sites/apps for dogs — until now that is. Internet, meet Where My Dogs At. Where My Dogs At, meet the internet. Now sniff each others butts and go play rough with one another.
Where My Dogs At is a new social networking app that allows dog owners to connect with one another and share things like dog friendly spots and photos of their four-legged friends. Developed by Jonathan Kolker and Gareth Wilson, a couple of dudes out of USC, the app asks users to "Mark their territory" at locations (restaurants, parks, businesses, etc.) and give their "paw of approval" to the places that were most accommodating to their pets. Soon, the app will include information on dog friendly hotels and upcoming dog-related events.
From the LA Times:
Where My Dogs At tries to "socialize dogs with its social components," Kolker said. Owners can create a Facebook-inspired profile for themselves through the "dog people" feature. Users' beloved canines also have "dog profiles" through which other furry friends can be found.
Like Facebook, the app also enables users to share pictures and post real-time status updates on its news feed.
Businesses that want to advertise as pet friendly will also be able to create profiles and the app recently released international data so that users can find good, dog friendly spots while abroad.
Question: Is it weird to have download the app if you don't have a dog? Like, say you're someone who may or may not write for Jezebel and whose initials may or may not be M.D. and maybe you go to dog runs alone a lot just to watch dogs play. Would downloading the app be strange or just another action in your natural and normal progression towards becoming QUEEN of the dogs? Asking for a friend.
Image via arturasker/Shutterstock.
Uma Thurman is onboard to play Anita Bryant in a biopic of the very troubled and very hateful woman. I love you, Uma, but I'm gonna have to throw oranges at the screen — you know that, right?
The film follows Bryant, a former celebrity singer and orange juice spokeswoman, who, when she allows a gay screenwriter into her home, is forced to confront her past as an anti-gay Christian crusader who successfully campaigned to overturn a gay rights law in Florida and destroyed her show biz career in the process.
With a screenplay from Chad Hodge, Anita will be directed by celebrity bio dream team Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Interestingly, while doing research for the movie in 2011, Hodge met with Bryant. He says he's the first gay person Bryant has met with in 31 years. (THAT SHE KNOWS OF.)
Remarking on his encounter Hodge says, "We talked about everything... Religion, homosexuality, her life and every detail of her life. I mean, everything! She really opened up to me. It started very standoffish... but then it slowly took a turn and she opened up and cried to me... Turns out she wants a gay best friend just like everyone else."
Anita Bryant: SHE'S JUST LIKE US. (Well, with extra hatefulness and a lifetime supply of orange juice.)
Photo via AP
At this Saturday's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, brilliant teenager Eesha Khare from Saratoga, CA, won $50,000 for inventing a supercapacitor that could one day charge your phone battery in 20 to 30 seconds. My phone is always dying in important situations (Angry Birds), so I AM READY.
Right now she uses it to power a LED, but it holds potential to be scaled. It's tiny, flexible, and powerful, it can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared with 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries. I'm already waiting in line.
Tuck it away between McGriddles and that guy whose only dream in life is to be a human maxi pad in the Apocalypse Already Happened, We Just Missed It File: I have seen Patricia "Tan Mom" Krentcil's rap video, and it's AWFUL, but so awful that it's basically the 2013 version of "the Entertainment" from Infinite Jest. As in, I'm drooling now, and my butthole is really, really loose, and I'm losing all perspective, and who are these poor gay guys?!
Put on an adult diaper and acquire a solar eclipse viewing box before clicking play. Aaaareyouready. It'zPatricia. You will die in seven days. [TMZ]
While every journalist on Earth has thrown their hat in the ring, Ann Curry in particular is being urged by NBC execs to snag the first interview with Angelina Jolie since she realeased her double mastectomy news. "Ann would be prominently featured in all of the promotions and publicity if Angelina agreed to do it. [And] Angelina made it known after Ann was demoted from TODAY that the only journalist to interview her from the Peacock network would be Curry.” Curry's interviewed Jolie frequently in the past. [Radar Online]
Zach Galifianakis' date to The Hangover 3 premiere is an 87-year-old formerly homeless woman named Mimi Haist, who he befriended in 1994 as a struggling comedian, when she worked at his local laundromat. Two years ago, when he found out she needed a place to live, he bought her an apartment (which his friend Renee Zellweger decorated for Haist, and sometimes still buys her groceries).
He's taken her to The Hangover 2 premiere and other Hollywood parties, which she gets a kick out of: "It's fun. Not something I'd ever dreamt I'd experience. I drink lemon drop martinis with Grey Goose vodka." [NYDN]
Ever dreamed of purchasing Brendan Coyle as your very own personal steadfast, morally-staunch manservant? Buy Mr. Bates for a day from the Origin Theater Company's annual auction, which he went for at the low price of $20,000 last year. (You don't really NEED that last year of grad school, do you?) Or you can have tea in the West Village with Mrs. Patmore, if that's more your jawn. Just remember that if you don't open the first 2 minutes with a dog ass, it didn't happen. [Page Six]
Winona Ryder says that, despite rumors to the contrary, she hasn't had work done:
"I’m not trying to knock it, but, you know, I have a little bit of traffic now on my forehead – which I’m like very proud of actually. When you start out as a kid and then you have these great roles early on and even into your twenties, you’re doing movies like Reality Bites, people want you to stay the same, but then they kind of don’t. People don’t want you to get older, but then it’s like, ‘Why do you look so young?’”
We know you've always wondered what it would be like to get the chance to snoop through Nicolas Cage's house; VICE did it for you and found, among other things, a pair of old long underwear, a fireman's helmet and not one but two whips.
15 year old Angela is something of a cosplay wunderkind as far as I am concerned. A denizen of New York (ahem, anyone thinking design scholarship?), she runs both a wordpress *and* a tumblr where she features her specific cosplay outfits and also offers ridiculously detailed tutorials about how she designs them, sews them, and ultimately wears them to conventions like Otakon (an old haunt of mine) and AnimeNorth.
Angela's works are simply breathtaking, especially her Merida. Her tutorials can be found here, and various photographs of this and other designs are all over her previously mentioned web spaces. Of Merida costumes in general she says:
One of my major Merida cosplay pet peeves is people using broadcloth or very lightweight, swishy fabrics for Merida’s dress. Or even worse, materials with a sheen and glitter! We are supposed to be in 10th century Scotland, and a horse-riding-archery-master-tom-boy-all-around-awesome-strong-female-character, we would not put up with that shit.
Angela, you kick ass. Merida would be very proud, indeed.