Home / Tech News / Netflix’s latest hit ‘The Kissing Booth’ is a Wattpad success story

Netflix’s latest hit ‘The Kissing Booth’ is a Wattpad success story

One of the most popular movies in the U.S. is a terrible teen rom-com called “The Kissing Booth,” and it’s not in theaters. Instead, this Netflix Original with its paltry 17 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, shot up to become the No. 4 movie on IMDb, before more recently dropping down to No. 9. Its leads, Jacob Elordi and Joey King, also became the No. 1 and No. 6 most popular stars on IMDb’s StarMeter, respectively, shortly after the film’s launch.

The secret to the movie’s success, however, is not just a combination of teenagers’ questionable taste in entertainment and the power of Netflix’s distribution – though both play a major role, clearly.

Instead, it’s that “The Kissing Booth” was tapping into a built-in audience: teenaged Wattpad users.

Yes, Wattpad.

In case you’re not familiar, Wattpad is an online site and mobile app where writers can share their original stories – often things like fan fiction or sappy love stories (ahem) – with a wide community of readers. Today, Wattpad is visited by over 65 million monthly users, who spend a collective 15 billion minutes per month reading its online stories.

“The Kissing Booth” was one of its successes.

The original story was started on Wattpad back in 2011, and won one of the site’s “Watty Awards” that same year for “Most Popular Teen Fiction.”

The story was read a whopping 19 million times while on Wattpad, before the then 17-year old author Beth Reekles scored a three-book deal with Random House UK in 2013 – becoming the youngest Wattpad writer to earn a book deal at that time, the company notes.

London- and L.A.-based Komixx Media – the movie’s producer which specializes in finding young adult IP with commercial potential – reached out to the author within months of the book deal.

And Netflix ordered its adaptation of “The Kissing Booth” in 2016.

“The Kissing Booth is a great example of what is possible on Wattpad,” said Aron Levitz, Head of Wattpad Studios, the online community’s studio arm that helps make deals for its authors.

“Beth was a fresh new voice whose story connected with millions of readers all over the world on Wattpad, before becoming a published book,” he noted. “We were able to work with Netflix to market the film on Wattpad and make sure the story’s fans around the world hit ‘play’ when it started streaming. And now it’s one of the most popular movies on the planet.”