Jennifer Lawrence’s New Movie Is A Huge Box Office Test 8 Years In The Making

Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie No Hard Feelings is a massive box office test for the star actress and R-rated comedies based on the last eight years of data. No Hard Feelings represents Jennifer Lawrence’s first foray into doing a true comedy after spending the last several years establishing herself as one of the biggest names in Hollywood. She has mastered everything from awards-worthy dramas like her Oscar-winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook to leading major franchises like the Hunger Games movies. Now, she is set up for what is arguably Jennifer Lawrence’s biggest box office test yet.

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As the main character and biggest star among No Hard Feelings‘ cast, Sony has invested a lot of money into making Jennifer Lawrence’s R-rated comedy, hoping it will be a massive theatrical hit. It’s an understandable bet to make with a star like her considering she’s headlined 10 movies that have made at least $100 million domestically, as well as six that made over $500 million worldwide. It also makes sense given how big R-rated comedies can become if audiences really enjoy them. However, the draw of a Jennifer Lawrence-led movie and R-rated movies has changed dramatically, making No Hard Feelings a big box office test for all involved.



Jennifer Lawrence Hasn’t Been A Box Office Star Since Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part Two

The reality is that Jennifer Lawrence’s status as a true box office star mostly came to an end after the Hunger Games franchise concluded. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2‘s release in 2015 marked the last time she was the main character in a movie that really performed financially. That is telling considering the movie is actually the lowest-grossing Hunger Games movie. In the last eight years, Lawrence has only been in one movie that made over $500M worldwide – X-Men: Apocalypse – but her performance was called out by critics. The X-Men sequel and Passengers are also the only movies she’s made that made over $100M domestically.

Jennifer Lawrence’s box office star credibility has been hurt more than it has been helped during this time span. She starred in the notorious sci-fi box office bomb Passengers with Chris Pratt in 2016, which only made $300M worldwide. She also returned for Dark Phoenix, which became a box office disaster for Disney and 20th Century. Jennifer Lawrence has even moved to streaming movies, with Adam McKay’s satirical drama Don’t Look Up becoming a huge hit on Netflix. However, that does not help her box office star status. No Hard Feelings is now the first movie banking on Jennifer Lawrence to help pull in mass audiences since 2018’s Red Sparrow.

R-Rated Comedies Have Struggled At The Box Office Since 2017

Jennifer_Lawrence_looking_over_her_shoulder_in_anger_in_No_Hard_Feelings

Putting Jennifer Lawrence’s relative box office struggles aside, the real challenge facing No Hard Feelings‘ box office is that it is an R-rated comedy. This genre of movie has struggled to achieve massive box office success since 2017. That was the last year that an R-rated comedy made over $100M domestically thanks to Girl’s Trip. This obviously ignores franchises and R-rated action comedies, such as Deadpool 2. The highest-grossing R-rated comedies domestically in each of the last six years are: 2022’s Jackass Forever ($57M), 2021’s Licorice Pizza ($17M), 2020’s Like a Boss ($22M), 2019’s Good Boys ($83M), and 2018’s Game Night ($69M).

The repeated failure of R-rated movies means No Hard Feelings‘ true story being told is a gamble for Sony financially. However, it is likely an attempt to try and get back to where the genre stood just a decade ago. 2013 was an incredible year for R-rated comedies. The Heat, We’re The Millers, Identity Thief, The Hangover III, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, and This Is The End all made over $100M domestically. The following years included more hits, like 2014’s 22 Jump Street and Neighbors, 2015’s Trainwreck and Spy, and 2016’s Bad Moms. The days of $100M R-rated comedies is what No Hard Feelings‘ box office hopes to bring back.

Will No Hard Feelings Be A Box Office Hit?

Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman at a baseball game in No Hard Feelings

The odds are stacked against No Hard Feelings becoming a box office hit it appears. The combination of Jennifer Lawrence’s recent box office history and the decline of interest in R-rated comedies by theatrical audiences already gave the movie a difficult road to success. However, reports that No Hard Feelings‘ opening weekend could be as small as $10 million domestically (via Matt Belloni) is a huge red flag. That would be Jennifer Lawrence’s lowest opening weekend since 2017’s mother!. Furthermore, it means No Hard Feelings‘ box office begins lower than some of 2023’s biggest box office bombs so far.

Considering No Hard Feelings‘ budget reportedly is around $70 million due to Jennifer Lawrence’s payday and Sony’s high interest in the script, it will take an unexpected effort from audiences to turn the comedy into a hit. Positive reviews and great word of mouth would certainly help give the movie a better shot of becoming a success. Sony has not skimped on the marketing campaign or worldwide rollout in an attempt to make the movie big. But, it might be for naught unless Jennifer Lawrence’s box office test with No Hard Feelings manages to defy expectations.

Source: Matt Melloni

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