If you were starting a film studio in 1999 you'd be forgiven for thinking that the romantic comedy was going to stick around forever. Films like Notting Hill, 10 Things I Hate About You and She's All That were melting hearts... and making a fortune while they were at it.
The noughties however have been less kind to the genre. Data from The Numbers reveals that in 2019, just 1% of all North American box office receipts were for romantic comedy movies. In fact, the only rom-com made in the last 5 years that's broken $100m at the domestic box office was Crazy Rich Asians. The next most recent? You have to go all the way back to 2009 when Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock terrorised each other in The Proposal.
Why the rom-com break-up?
1) Dating culture is just different now. With so many couples meeting online, the anchor of most rom-coms, the "meet-cute", just doesn't relate as well anymore. Some stellar flirting over text messages doesn't make for amazing cinema.
2) Comedies have been getting raunchier. The comedy part of the innocent rom-com is struggling to compete with raunchier R-rated comedies like Deadpool or Bridesmaids.
3) Superheroes. Movie studios -- and Disney in particular -- realised just how much mileage was in superheroes. If you loved the first 22 Marvel movies you're probably going to go see #23, instead of a random romantic comedy you've never heard of.
4) Streaming. Netflix has changed the game here, making 30+ original romantic movies. That means you don't need to leave your house to get that warm fuzzy feeling, you can watch it on Netflix while on your phone. Easier and cheaper.