Please Don’t Destroy Movie Skips Theaters, Sets Peacock Debut

A new buddy comedy from Please Don’t Destroy, the writing trio of “Saturday Night Live” fame, will no longer play in theaters. Instead, the untitled movie will premiere exclusively on Peacock, the streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, on Nov. 17.

Ben Marshall, John Higgins and Martin Herlihy, better known as Please Don’t Destroy, wrote the film, which was produced by Judd Apatow and Jimmy Miller. The story centers on three childhood friends who live and work together. When the threesome decides they don’t like their life trajectory, they set off to find a gold treasure that is rumored to be buried in the nearby mountain. They discover that finding the treasure is actually the easiest part of the adventure.

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Universal didn’t give a reason for the move from theaters (it was set to release on Aug. 18) to streaming, but it’s been a tough environment for theatrical comedies. “Ticket to Paradise” and “The Lost City” managed to beat expectations thanks to boldface stars like George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock. But rave reviews weren’t enough to save last year’s “Bros” with Billy Eichner.

Several pandemic-era releases from Universal, including “Halloween Kills,” “Halloween Ends,” the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy “Marry Me” and “Boss Baby 2,” premiered day-and-date in the big screen and on Peacock. But for the most part, studios have been reverting to exclusive releases on either theatrical or streaming because it’s more profitable than the hybrid rollout model.

As part of the shakeup, another Universal comedy, the R-rated “Strays,” which boasts Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx among its voice cast, will move from June 9 to Aug. 18 to avoid the crush of summer blockbuster season. On its new date, “Strays” will open alongside Warner Bros. and DC’s “Blue Beetle.”

Paul Briganti, an alum of “SNL,” is directing the film, which also stars Conan O’Brien, Bowen Yang and Meg Stalter. They shot the movie last summer during the sketch comedy show’s off-season. Executive producers are Josh Church, M. Riley, Sam Hansen, Michael Sledd, Ben Marshall, John Higgins and Martin Herlihy.

Please Don’t Destroy met at New York University and were hired as writers on the 47th season of “SNL.” Tasked with creating digital shorts à la The Lonely Island, they churned out viral hits such as “Three Sad Virgins” featuring Taylor Swift and Pete Davidson, and “Rami Wants a Treat” with Rami Malek. This marks the trio’s first starring film roles.

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