George Clooney Applauds Universal for Taking a ‘Gamble’ on ‘Ticket to Paradise’ and Putting It in Theaters: ‘I’m Really Proud’

Julia Roberts also weighed in on why she thinks the genre that made her a screen star is having a resurgence

George Clooney and Julia Robert
George Clooney and Julia Roberts star in Ticket to Paradise (Universal Pictures)

As an actor, director and producer, George Clooney knows the business of filmmaking – and he knows the risk that Universal Pictures is making by putting his new romantic comedy with Julia Roberts, “Ticket to Paradise,” in theaters. For taking that risk, he applauds them.

“The studios aren’t making these mid-range films very much,” Clooney said in an interview Thursday morning, sitting with Jess Cagle for SiriusXM. “The gamble is too hard, because honestly, with the print and ad campaign, if you do a $50 million film, you gotta recoup about $175 million to break even. And so they’re looking at tentpoles that are easy to eventually find their way back. Suddenly, you’re not making these movies for giant budgets because there’s not really an expense in them.”

Clooney continued, saying that there’s been a “loss of interest, financially” from the studios to continue producing movies that aren’t a surefire hit and that his new project with Roberts and Universal is putting that stance to the test.

“I actually really applaud Universal for standing up and saying, ‘No, we really want to do this. We want to open it in theaters.’ ‘Cause that’s another thing: They are making romantic comedies — they’re making ’em for Netflix and Amazon and saying, ‘Here, that’s where they go now.’ And so [‘Ticket to Paradise’] is saying, ‘No, we are still in the movie business,’ and I’m really proud of them for doing that,” Clooney said.

No matter the genre, Clooney also lamented a world where going to the theater for movies could be taken over by streaming. While platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have revolutionized opportunities for actors, creators and viewers alike, he expressed he doesn’t “want us to ever” not go to the theater. “It’s still a great way to get outta the house,” he quipped.

“You wanna see a comedy with people, you really do,” he said. “When I’m watching a comedy at home, I grin at it. When you watch it in a theater, you really laugh.”

While “Ticket to Paradise” may be an anomaly in 2022 – a mid-budget studio romantic comedy with two A-listers attached – Roberts enthused that she is seeing an uptick in interest in the genre. (Lionsgate and Amazon Studios have Jennifer Lopez’s “Shotgun Wedding” in the pipeline; Lindsay Lohan is making her return to Hollywood with Netflix’s “Falling for Christmas”; Billy Eichner just made history with “Bros,” also from Universal; and the list goes on.)

“This is what I think: I feel that in this industry there are just this energetic sort of [collective], right?Where if there’s one movie comes out that’s about a father and son, you know, switch places in the night, all of a sudden there’s three more,” Roberts said. “Like, there’s just some commonality of energy where things get created at the same time.”

Roberts went on to call attention to how romantic comedies, while light-hearted, require a lot more work than one might think.

“I think with romantic comedies, there was a moment where there were a lot of very good ones and we didn’t realize how unusual that was. We thought it was the norm – and it’s really not, because they’re tricky to make and a lot of them don’t work,” she said. “And so I think that we just didn’t realize what a bumper crop we were experiencing. And so as they kind of drifted away a bit, it seemed like: What happened to that? I got blamed a lot. ‘Do you hate romantic comedies now?’ I was like, ‘How do you hate a romantic comedy?’”

Watch both of clips from Roberts and Clooney’s joint SiriusXM interview below.

SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show
SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show