Rom-Coms are Back (Thanks to Netflix)

It’s summer-loving both on- and off-the-screen with Netflix pumping out two surprise hits of the season.

Through the release of original films, The Kissing Booth and more-recently, Set It Up, Netflix is leaning hard into the nostalgia trend, serving up serious romantic comedy vibes and the results are nothing less than fascinating. As Refinery29 best put it – the rom-com renaissance is here and much to millennials’ delight, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

We’ve seen a shift in how the online generation consumes content – vying for a binge-worthy series over leaving the house to take in a full-length feature. Netflix has solved the problem by bringing the big screen to you and millennials appear to be responding well. The Kissing Booth came out strong and created a mini-cultural obsession among the Netflix community. The quality of the film is debatable; it’s been up for interpretation by teens, 20-somethings and parents. But what cannot be denied is that it has captivated an audience with a genuine chemistry between the two leads and a reminder that the simple structure of rom-coms we remember from the early 90s is not lost on a new generation. And oh yes, a happy ending where everything falls into place and love conquers all never hurt anybody.

With the positive buzz from The Kissing Booth, Netflix put a lot of backing behind their second rom-com feature, Set It Up. They promoted the film like it was coming out in theatres – with junkets, billboards and the TV show circuit for it’s big stars. There were so many interviews and high exposure that audiences were surprised to discover that it was being released on the streaming service alone. But it was a testament to the changes in media consumption mentioned above – the movie was met with a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been positively acclaimed by critics citing a noticeably diverse cast, adorable chemistry between the four major players and a happy but surprising twist ending that will make you laugh and cry all at once. It is clear that there has been a gap in big screen themes and viewers are eager to watch a romantic comedy-type film, so long as they don’t have to go out to do so.

With back-to-back success, Netflix has perked up its’ ears and taken note. As they have always used data and analytics when it comes to the direction of their original programming, the streaming service is leaning in strong with this old-is-new-again genre. With six more original rom-coms set to be released this summer, the online giant is giving the people what they want. And perhaps given the nature of our current reality, subscribers are holding onto something they can indulge in. A sweeter story: one that is so delightfully predictable we’re ready and wanting to watch – as long as we don’t have to leave the house to do so.