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Romantic comedies seem to be a dying breed of film. Last year, rom-coms, as the movies are known, grossed a total of $86 million at the global box office. That was down from $310 million in 2018 and $835 million in 1999. Studios appear to making fewer rom-coms these days, opting instead for low-budget horror movies and films about superheroes that appeal to younger audiences.

However, a good rom-com can still be a big worldwide hit. Classic rom-coms such as “Pretty Woman,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless In Seattle” remain some of the highest grossing movies of all time, both at the box office and on home video. The highest grossing rom-com of all time is 2002’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which took in $368.77 million at the global box office. As film studios look to boost their box office takes this year, many are releasing some highly anticipated romantic comedy films in hopes they’ll strike a chord with viewers. Here are three movie stocks to bet on a rom-com rebound this year.

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD)

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Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD) is no doubt hoping that it has a hit on its hands with the upcoming rom-com called “Challengers.” The movie stars Zendaya and is about a love triangle that forms between three professional tennis players who were friends as teenagers and now find themselves competing in a major tournament. Originally slated to be released in Sept. 2023, the date got pushed back due to last year’s strikes by both Hollywood writers and actors. Challengers is now slated for release on April 26.

Warner Bros. has the international distribution rights to Challengers, while Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is releasing the film in the U.S. through its MGM Studios. Warner Bros. is betting that the international appeal of tennis and popularity of Zendaya will attract moviegoers in foreign markets. Warner Bros. Discovery could use a hit. The entertainment giant’s stock continues to be a crushing disappointment. So far this year, WBD stock is down 18%. The share price has fallen 38% in the last 12 months and has declined 60% since 2022.

Netflix (NFLX)

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Another rom-com that had its release date pushed back by last year’s Hollywood strike is “A Family Affair.” The movie stars Zac Efron as a movie star who falls in the love with the mother of his faithful assistant. The mother is played by actress Nicole Kidman. The film was originally slated to drop on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) last November, but has since been pushed back to this year. Netflix has yet to confirm an exact release date for A Family Affair, but online speculation has the movie landing on the streaming service this summer.

Romantic comedies continue to be among the most popular type of movies streamed on Netflix. In fact the number one streamed movie on the platform as of this writing is the rom-com “Players” starring actress Gina Rodriguez. The film “The Devil Wears Prada” also continues to be among the top 10 most watched movies on the service. Unlike Warner Bros. Discovery though, Netflix does not need a hit film to help revive its share price. NFLX stock is killing it lately on the back of strong earnings and growing subscriptions. Year to date, Netflix’s share price has risen 26%.

Amazon (AMZN)

Source: Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.com

Through MGM Studios, which it acquired in 2022 for $8.5 billion, Amazon is releasing more original movies to its Prime streaming service, including a fair number of rom-coms. As mentioned, the company has the U.S. distribution rights to “Challengers.” Another big rom-com it will be releasing this year is “The Idea of You.” The film stars actress Anne Hathaway as a single mother who takes her teenage daughter to the Coachella music festival. The plot takes a turn when Hathaway’s character falls for the 24-year-old lead singer of a boyband.

The Idea of You is scheduled to premiere at South by Southwest on March 16 of this year and become available on the Prime streaming service on May 2. Amazon looks to be giving the movie some heavy promotion as it continues to drive traffic to its streaming service. Streaming is becoming an increasingly important business segment to the technology company. It recently agreed to pay between $120 million and $150 million to broadcast one NFL playoff game next season. Like Netflix, Amazon’s stock has been on an upsurge lately, having risen 82% in the last 12 months.

On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.

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