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Witherspoon On Rom-Coms vs. Auteur Films

20th Century Studios

The romantic comedy was once a staple of cinema with actresses like Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon known for their work in the genre.

Whilst the occasional one still gets made, from “Crazy Rich Asians” to the upcoming “Ticket to Paradise,” the genre as a whole has been absent from theaters for some time.

Instead, streaming has taken up the mantle with Netflix in particular famous for churning out numerous romantic comedy movies. Recently speaking with THR about her production company, Reese Witherspoon explained a big reason that streamers keep investing in the genre – more so than headline-grabbing auteur-driven fare – is because the genre remains popular:

“When anybody says that stuff, I say, ‘Call Ted Sarandos or Scott Stuber or Bob Chapek … anyone who runs these studios with a streaming service.’ Show me the numbers!

I imagine people have watched more Nancy Meyers movies over and over and over again than have seen an auteur’s movie. You see an auteur movie once. I think you’re going to see a new measurement of engagement, which is, ‘How many times are people watching it?’ What’s the repeated viewership?’

I’ve seen some of my favorite romantic comedies and Nora Ephron movies over and over. Repeatability is a big factor in terms of library value.”

Witherspoon’s business partner Lauren Neustadter also weighed in on the interview, saying that the Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell-led film “Set It Up” on Netflix was something of a watershed moment for the genre:

“There was a really interesting moment that started with that Zoey Deutch movie on Netflix, Set It Up. Reese watched it, loved it and tweeted something like, ‘Where are all the rom-coms?’ The response on Twitter was so intense. … Rom-coms are feel-good movies, and this is a moment in the world when people are turning to these streaming platforms to find content that makes them feel good.”

Netflix in particular has had big success in the field with critically acclaimed efforts like “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “Ali’s Wedding,” “Always Be My Maybe,” “Someone Great,” “The Kissing Booth” and the aforementioned “Set It Up”.

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