Netflix is hoping to convert fans of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” into subscribers — if they’re not already — by letting anyone stream the YA rom-com movie for free for a limited time.
The original 2018 movie is free to watch (no Netflix subscription required) now through March 9 in the U.S. and select international markets at netflix.com/toalltheboys. The company’s goal? To encourage viewers to subscribe (or resubscribe) to Netflix to watch the sequel, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” with stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo reprising their roles, which was released Feb. 12 (timed to hit around Valentine’s Day).
It’s not clear how many incremental subscribers Netflix may woo with the promo. But it appears to be the first time the streamer is using such a free “sampling” strategy, a tactic that has been selectively employed for years by premium cable TV services like HBO and Showtime to whet the appetites of would-be subscribers.
For Netflix, the move is a low-risk way to remind people of the sequel and, ideally, get them to sign up as paying members for longer than it takes to watch “P.S. I Still Love You.” The new movie is a crowd-pleaser, Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote in his review, calling it “a fan-service sequel that substitutes wish fulfillment for relatability.”
The “All the Boys” movie series, produced by ViacomCBS’s Awesomeness Films, is a hugely popular franchise for Netflix — although how big, exactly, is not totally clear, as the company has only doled out data points selectively.
Netflix said “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was one of its three most-rewatched original movies of 2018 (along with teen rom-com “The Kissing Booth” and “Roxanne Roxanne,” a biopic about rapper/hip-hop artist Roxanne Shanté). According to Netflix, almost 50% of viewers who watched “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” rewatched it at least once.
A third installment in the series, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean” is in production. The movies are based on Jenny Han’s bestselling trilogy that follows the romantic entanglements of high schooler Lara Jean (Condor).