The Netflix Comedy Franchise Worth $1 Billion

By TeeJay Small | Published

These days, it seems as though straightforward family comedies just don’t make a splash at the box office the way they used to. Perhaps this is due to massive Marvel films cornering the market for theatrical releases, or simply due to the ever-shifting landscape of cinema, though the early 2000s will always be regarded for the many comedy classics they produced.

One such franchise, launched by 2000’s Meet The Parents, managed to rake in over a billion dollars and showcases generational talent between its hilarious leading duo.

Meet The Parents On Netflix

Meet The Parents is currently available to stream on Netflix, as well as the film’s two sequels, Meet The Fockers and Little Fockers. The first two films were directed by legendary comedy filmmaker Jay Roach, best known for helming such classics as Dinner For Schmucks, The Campaign, and the Austin Powers trilogy.

The third and final installment in the franchise, Little Fockers, was directed by American Pie filmmaker Paul Weitz.

Ben Stiller As Greg Focker

The films center on the nervous and awkward but well-meaning Gaylord ‘Greg’ Focker as he navigates blending his family with the strict and straightforward family of his girlfriend-turned-wife.

In Meet the Parents, Greg, portrayed by Ben Stiller, seeks to gain the approval of his girlfriend’s father, Jack Byrnes, portrayed by Robert De Niro. Jack is a retired CIA operative and a veteran of the Vietnam War, who instantly takes issue with Greg’s nervous demeanor and lack of conviction.

Robert DeNiro And Ben Stiller

The films often draw comedy out of the generational differences between De Niro and Stiller, with the former embodying the archetype of the strong, silent type, hyper-masculine, violent, and always in control, while the latter anxiously navigates the world one mistake at a time, resulting in a hilarious comedy of errors.

The sequel to Meet The Parents, 2004’s Meet The Fockers, flips the script on Jack by forcing him to stay with Greg’s eccentric family six months before his daughter and Greg are set to wed.

Meet The Fockers Was Next

meet the parents

Meet The Fockers introduces Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand as Greg’s parents, whose fun-loving and free-spirited ways instantly clash with Jack’s repressed worldview.

Throughout the franchise, Jack and Greg learn to get along, and even see each other as family, despite their many differences. Though the second film performed exceptionally well at the box office, it failed to impress critics, and certainly didn’t become the same cultural staple as Meet The Parents.

Little Fockers Makes It A Trilogy

meet the parents

The third and final film in the Meet The Parents trilogy is 2010’s Little Fockers, which centers on Greg and his wife raising their twin children and organizing their fifth birthday party. Greg’s family and in-laws come to town to celebrate the occasion, though Jack is dismayed at the recent divorce of his elder daughter, Debbie.

In a private discussion with Greg, Jack reveals that he initially intended to pass the torch of the family patriarch to Debbie’s husband, Bob, though he has now reluctantly accepted that the role would have to go to Greg instead.

Generational Gap

meet the parents

Little Fockers brings the generational gap between Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro to bold new places by introducing a new generation of children into the Byrnes-Focker family and examining serious themes such as death and divorce.

Though the film received poor reviews from critics, it performed well at the box office, making all three films in the Meet The Parents trilogy massive financial successes.

By the film’s end, Jack finally learns to truly respect Greg and accept him into his family, dubbing him the future patriarch of the Byrnes clan and nicknaming him “The Godfocker.”

Meet The Parents On Netflix

meet the parents

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of catching these hilarious films, you can begin by streaming Meet The Parents on Netflix today. Though the sequels failed to reach the same cultural relevance as the 2000 original, each film delivers a new dynamic to the growing family, allowing fans of the franchise to grow up alongside the characters.