For all intents and functions, the romantic comedy was useless.
A style of movie that was as soon as so ubiquitous it primarily constructed the careers of stars like Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Kate Hudson, with summers stuffed with shiny, shiny movies about fairly individuals falling in love and cracking jokes, the rom-com fell out of favor because of a mixture of its perceived formulaic nature, its relegation as being merely “chick flicks,” and a altering business that is all however turned its again on the mid-budget film that would rope in a few stars (assume the Candy Residence Alabamas and You’ve got Received Mails of yore) and tales geared in direction of girls, leaving a large canyon between the big-budget franchises consuming up all the cash on one finish (assume The Avengers or Starvation Video games) and the micro-budget indies on the opposite. As studios have chased these tentpole movies that reap in obscene quantities of cash, they’ve by and huge forgotten all in regards to the type of date night time movie made for adults that does not provide a lot by the use of merchandising alternatives, leaving the rom-com to develop into, sadly, a relic of the previous.
After which got here Netflix and The Summer season of Love.
Regardless of the dearth of main studio rom-coms making it to multiplexes over the previous few years—Trainwreck, The Huge Sick, and this yr’s game-changing Loopy Wealthy Asians are the one few that readily come to thoughts—the of us on the streaming large have been noticing that the demand for such movies was nonetheless there amongst their large international subscriber base.
“We’re conscious of what individuals are watching and the way a lot they watch it and we discover that individuals are watching a variety of rom-coms. Even, like, the [worst] ones which can be on the market,” Netflix’s director of authentic movie Matt Brodlie informed The Hollywood Reporter in June. A press launch issued the identical month acknowledged that, previously yr, over 80 million accounts particularly watched love tales on the service.
So, having already utterly conquered the world of tv, however not having made a lot headway into the world of movie other than some acquisitions right here and there and a exclusivity pact with Adam Sandler for movies that actually nobody was speaking about, they made the romantic comedy their precedence.
“It simply was a fantastic alternative for us to leap into a spot the place individuals weren’t doing an excessive amount of,” Brodlie added. “Should you speak to any agent on the town over the past two years, we have been banging our drums saying, ‘Ship us your rom-coms!'”
Starting with The Kissing Sales space on Might 11 2018, Netflix launched a complete of 11 movies total in what they referred to as their Summer season of Love—a mixture of outdoors acquisitions and Netflix productions that made up however a small portion of the 86 authentic movies they deliberate to launch within the calendar yr. And whereas the jury’s nonetheless out on their total slate, there isn’t any denying that the rom-coms launched by the streaming service this yr—or a few of them, at the least—made an impression that nobody outdoors of Netflix headquarters noticed coming.
Take TKB, which stars Joey King and Jacob Elordi. Although the movie solely earned a 13 % ranking on Rotten Tomatoes (from solely eight critiques, so, take that ranking with a grain of salt), the corporate, which is notoriously tight-lipped relating to rankings information, famous simply over a month after its launch that one in three viewers of the movie had already re-watched it, inserting it 30 % larger than the streamer’s common film re-watch charge. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos informed Vulture in June that the movie was “one of many most-watched motion pictures within the nation, and possibly on the earth.”
That movie was adopted by crucial darlings and web sensations Set It Up (launched June 15) and To All of the Boys I’ve Beloved Earlier than (August 17). Whereas To All of the Boys, which stars breakouts Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, was bought by Netflix after it was made, Set It Up got here to the streaming service when it was nonetheless in growth, after plans with MGM fell by way of, with solely director Claire Scanlon and star Glen Powell hooked up. Why? As a result of, as producer Juliet Berman informed Bustle, “”I had heard they [Netflix] have been on the lookout for romantic comedies. … we introduced the challenge to Netflix, they usually instantly jumped on it.” (Powell was quickly joined by Zoey Deutch, Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu within the forged.)
Each motion pictures grew to become sensations, praised for his or her nuanced storytelling, their various casting, and their simply all-around top quality. They turned their leads into stars, boosting Powell to a task within the Prime Gun sequel and turning Centineo into the web’s major squeeze, together with his Instagram followers leaping from 0.eight million previous to his movie’s launch to 13.four million in early October.
Whereas the remainder of the Summer season of Love line-up, which included Centineo’s second movie for the streamer, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, in addition to Alex Strangelove, Ibiza, Like Father and extra, did not generate as a lot chatter as the large three, by its October Q3 earnings report, Netflix was proudly touting that greater than 80 million subscribers all over the world had watched one of many 11 releases. And as for To All of the Boys? The web sensation was a bona fide hit, singled out as one in all Netflix’s “most seen authentic movies ever with sturdy repeat viewing.”
Will Netflix’s success immediate the foremost studios to dive again into the rom-cam enterprise? Most likely not. Their enterprise mannequin is simply too far fixated on funneling money in direction of these tentpole franchises to permit for way more than the one or two they develop a yr. However for followers of the style, it does not actually matter. Because the streaming service stated in October, they’re already in manufacturing on “the subsequent set of authentic rom-coms,” together with one from Ali Wong—already a Netflix star because of her profitable stand-up specials—and Contemporary Off the Boat‘s Randall Park, one starring Riverdale‘s KJ Apa, and, in fact, a sequel to To All of the Boys.
As Brodlie informed Mashable this summer time, “I believe at the present time, all people wants somewhat love of their life, with all of the disturbing information that is typically on the market.” Fortunately, Netflix can be proper there to supply them with it.