I was talking to sometimes-writing-partner Josh the other day about satirical films and how so few of them have seen any massive box office success. Off the top of our heads, we listed Robocop, Dr. Strangelove, and Starship Troopers*. Thank You For Smoking made a nice profit for itself ($24m on a $6.5m budget,) but that’s where my list ended. Discounting our love of movies like Idiocracy, what social** satires can you name that have made significant money for “the suits”? I feel like I have to be missing something here.
(Or am I overestimating people again? I am, aren’t I?)
*(The two Verhoeven-directed films from that trio feature sequels and ancillary material that replaced humor with po-faced, science-fiction clichÃ©, reminding us that nerds ruin everything. I came close to including Total Recall as well, but it seems to be more in the Commando end of big stupid action movies that occasionally wink at the audience.)
**Thanks to MW from The ISS for pointing out that I was discussing social satire more than narrower, more genre-intensive versions.