Meg Ryan Return to Romantic Comedy: Navigating the Taylor Swift Storm at Box Office

Meg Ryan Return to Romantic Comedy: Meg Ryan’s highly anticipated romantic comedy “What Happens Later” will now be released on November 3 instead of October 13. The decision follows industry predictions that Taylor Swift’s concert film, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” will open over $70 million between October 13 and 15. Bleecker Street, which produced “What Happens Later,” expects Swift’s Swifties will be ready to watch additional movies by November.

In “What Happens Later,” Meg Ryan and David Duchovny play ex-lovers Willa and Bill, who get snowed in at an airport overnight. Ryan’s second film as a director follows 2015’s “Ithaca.” Ryan returns to the romantic comedy genre, which has proved successful for him. Bleecker Street calls this Ryan’s “#Megaissance,” a revival in romantic comedy.

Meg Ryan has a rich background in romantic comedies, with Golden Globe nominations for “You’ve Got Mail,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “When Harry Met Sally…” The 1990 summer blockbuster grossed $93 million domestically. Ryan’s second and third-highest-grossing films, “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” co-starring Tom Hanks, grossed $251 million and $228 million, respectively. Her top-grossing film is “Top Gun,” with $357 million worldwide.

The release date change for “What Happens Later” is common. Two other films, “The Exorcist: Believer” and Lionsgate/Kingdom Story’s “Ordinary Angels,” have been rescheduled to avoid clashing with the Taylor Swift concert film. “The Exorcist: Believer” will be released on October 6, while “Ordinary Angels” is unknown.

The release date change shows Taylor Swift’s concert movie’s potential to smash records. Industry insiders expect a greater first-day presale than “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” predicting a $70 million opening weekend. These expectations have reshuffled the 2023 release calendar for romantic comedies like “What Happens Later,” as well as horror and tragedies.

Meg Ryan Return to Romantic Comedy

Meg Ryan and Bleecker Street may lose from the release date change, but it could be intentional. With the Taylor Swift concert movie grabbing a major chunk of the anticipated audience, “What Happens Later” can shine in November, a month noted for strong box office numbers due to the Christmas season. The last weekend of AMC’s Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour concert movie will give moviegoers a new option.

Post-pandemic film industry’s struggle for box office dominance is fiercer than ever. Big personalities like Meg Ryan and Taylor Swift represent genres and fanbases. The intentional shifting of release dates for movies like “What Happens Later” reflects a larger industry trend where star power, timing, genre, and audience tastes are all competing.

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