Reese Witherspoon Explains Why She Thinks People Watch Rom-Coms More Than Auteurs’ Movies

Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods with dog Bruiser in Legally Blonde
(Image credit: MGM Distribution Co.)

I am of the opinion that there is a good reason this pumpkin-infused season has the nickname Meg Ryan Fall rather than Auteurs’ Autumn, and Reese Witherspoon agrees. As we see both rom-coms and Academy Award contenders being released this fall, Witherspoon is offering up her thoughts as to which she thinks audiences want to rewatch. 

Witherspoon, herself, has made quite the impact in the world of rom-coms, from leading the cast of Legally Blonde to starring in numerous other rom-coms with stars like Mark Ruffalo and Chris Pine. During a conversation about her production company with THR, she explained her view on rom-coms: 

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.

As a fan of both, I can personally admit, I’ve seen When Harry Met Sally more times than I’ve seen any Quinten Tarantino or Christopher Nolan movie. I also think it’s worth mentioning that like these two aforementioned directors, filmmakers like Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron are extremely accomplished and revered. Movies like Sleepless in Seattle and Father of the Bride, are also considered classics and are deeply loved and rewatched by fans. Witherspoon’s business partner Lauren Neustadter mentioned something along the same lines in the same interview, saying: 

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.

She’s right, the rom-coms of Netflix are incredibly popular and viewers love them. This summer for example, movies like Purple Hearts caused fans to tweet their emotional responses, and watch and rewatch the film, people love this type of content. There are also Netflix rom-coms like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before that have found themselves on the list of best rom-coms ever. 

Clearly, there is an audience for rom-coms, and Witherspoon has made this point abundantly clear. To get your rom-com fix, you can check out the 2022 movie schedule for upcoming releases, or use a Netflix subscription to go back and watch the classics. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.