Anyone But You’s Impact: The Current Rom-Com Revival

Move over, MCU
By: Astrid Zulhaime
March 27, 2024

Remember when rom-coms used to rule the world in the late 90s and early 2000s? Objectively, two decades isn’t that long ago, but it feels like several lifetimes have passed since then. As our recent movie memories are overtaken by major blockbusters and franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Fast and Furious, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games, it’s understandable why the rom-com golden age feels so far away. Take us back to when movie discussions revolved around iconic rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally (1989), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), and 13 Going on 30 (2004).

Be careful what you wish for, though, as life has a funny way of giving everything its full circle moment. There has been a very recent revival in the rom-com genre and no, we’re not talking about the made-for-streaming rom-coms no one watches. We meant a proper revival where people travel in droves to the cinema to catch a chick flick, something that hasn’t happened since the one-off moment with Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Only time will tell if this resurgence will actually last.

Are We Finally Experiencing a Rom-Com Revival?

What Happened to Rom-Coms?

The western rom-com formula is a simple one: cast two attractive, well-known stars in the lead roles, give them a hilariously farfetched plot, then sit back and watch the magic unfold. It worked for Hugh Grant’s and Andie MacDowell’s Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Sandra Bullock’s and Ryan Reynold’s The Proposal (2009), as well as Rachel McAdams’ and Domhnall Gleeson’s About Time (2010). But if all the necessary ingredients are so easy to find, then why is there a dearth of good rom-coms on the market?

The lack of quality romantic comedy films in recent years is due to studios choosing not to invest in the genre. The official launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2012 with The Avengers was the beginning of the end for rom-coms. Actors’ careers followed suit; instead of vying for leading spots in the next rom-com hit, every up-and-coming star is now fighting to play a superhero no one but comic readers have even heard of. What a sad sight to witness!

Apart from that, studios are no longer putting in the work to cast an actor and an actress with actual chemistry between them. When you take away the billion dollars spent on marketing a movie, what really sells a rom-com to the audience is the relationship between the lead actors. The public wants the fake couple to have chemistry and tension between them that’s so thick and palpable that actual dating rumours start to circulate. Give us the mess, the drama, and the rumoured affairs — that’s what’s missing in these current rom-com flops!

Anyone But You’s Impact

And that’s exactly why Anyone But You (2023) is a smash hit that earned $216 million worldwide! A rom-com made for theatres instead of streaming (a death sentence to any film), the genre’s revival can be credited to this Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell-led movie. Although the film itself garnered mixed reviews from critics, Anyone But You and its stars made headlines for months before and after the movie’s premiere. Guess why.

Hollywood is a messy place. Par for the course when conventionally attractive and famous people are lumped together for work, eventually socialising together, leading up to all types of mayhem. So it came as no surprise that during filming, Sweeney and Powell were rumoured to have cheated on their respective partners with each other. It didn’t help their case that Powell broke up with his model girlfriend, Gigi Paris, during the film’s promotional tour. Yikes.

We’re not saying that all the gossip surrounding the lead actors is the only reason behind Anyone But You‘s success, but boy, did it help. Word of mouth on social media catapulted the movie’s earnings and made it 2024’s first box office hit. TBH, a little controversy is a small price to pay for an entire beloved genre’s revival, no?

Add These Upcoming Rom-Coms To Your Watchlist

It’s time to put your money where your mouth is! If you’ve been calling for a rom-com revival, here’s your chance to prove to studios that you’re not all talk. These upcoming movies may not be embroiled in controversy, but let’s see for ourselves if the chemistry is there, shall we?

The Idea of You will premiere on the 2nd of May 2024, starring Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine. Based on Robinne Lee’s novel of the same name, The Idea of You is centred around the love affair between a 40-year-old single mom and the 24-year-old lead singer of a famous boy band. The plot may sound like something straight out of Wattpad, but given the stellar reviews the movie has received from early screenings, we’re inclined to believe that this rom-com is much more sophisticated than that.

Another upcoming romantic comedy film based on a novel, It Ends With Us stars Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni, the latter also serving as the movie’s director. Written by popular young adult writer Colleen Hoover, the book is based on the relationship between Hoover’s parents. Trigger warning: the novel contains domestic abuse. Filming for It Ends With Us is still ongoing, having faced delays due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Nonetheless, it’s scheduled for release on the 21st of June, 2024. See you at the theatres!

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