In recent years, romantic comedies have been pushed to streaming services to save money and avoid becoming a box office flop. But that appears to be changing now that Bros and Tickets to Paradise are two romantic comedies slated to hit theaters on September 30th and October 21st. If these movies are the box office success producers are hoping for, it could mean the revival of the theatrical box office.
While romantic comedies often face an uphill battle at the box office, a handful have been impressively successful, raking in several hundred million dollars at the domestic box office alone. Since romantic comedies are cheaper to make, this means they’re just as profitable as some of the movies raking in billions against their multi-million dollar budgets.
10/10 Knocked Up (2007) – $148.7 Million
Written and directed by Judd Apatow, Knocked Up follows a slacker and a successful media personality who find herself pregnant after a drunken one-night stand. Now the two must figure out what to do while also still figuring out who they are as adults.
According to Box Office Mojo the movie made $148.7 million at the domestic box office against a $30 million budget. It also spent eight weeks in the top ten, which is a testament to the writing and performance by Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl.
9/10 Runaway Bride (1999) – $152.2 Million
Nine years after they starred together in Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere starred in Runaway Bride. The movie follows a reporter who has been tasked with writing a story about a woman who has a habit of leaving her fiancés at the altar.
Runway Bride earned $152.2 million at the domestic box office against a $70 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo. While it’s not certain what drew fans to the movie that received negative reviews from critics, it was most likely fans of Roberts and Gere wanting to see them on screen together again.
8/10 Sex And The City (2008) – $152.6 Million
Sex and the City is one of the biggest movies to come from a television show. The movie follows the core cast as they prepare for Carrie’s big wedding to Mr. Big, only to have to console her when he decides he no longer wants to marry her.
Given that Sex and the City was one of HBO biggest shows at the time, it’s no surprise the movie was also a hit. It went on to earn $152.6 million at the domestic box office, against a budget of $65 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
7/10 The Proposal (2009) – $163.9 Million
The Proposal follows Margaret, a Candian-born editor-in-chief whose livelihood is threatened when she learns she may face deportation in the United States after not renewing her visa. Determined to stay in the country, she convinces her assistant to pretend to be her fiancé.
The fake-dating trope isn’t new, but it was certainly perfected by The Proposal, which is proof in its hefty box office numbers. Not only was the rom-com a commercial success, but it also earned Sandra Bullock a Golden Globe nomination.
6/10 Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – $174.5 Million
Crazy Rich Asians attempted to revitalize the theatrical rom-com genre in the 2010s, becoming one of the highest-grossing rom-coms of the decade. Inspired by a novel of the same name, it follows American Rachel Chu as she travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s wealthy family.
As one of the only major Hollywood studio movies to feature a majority cast of actors of Asian descent in a modern setting, it’s no surprise the movie went on to earn $174.8 million at the box office. Praise from critics helped the movie spend four weeks at the top of the domestic box office charts.
5/10 There’s Something About Mary (1998) – $176.4 Million
There’s Something About Mary is rarely claimed by rom-com fans as their favorite movie, and yet it managed to be quite the box office success bringing in $176.4 million according to Box Office Mojo. It centers on a man who reconnects with his dream girl from high school whom he had one disastrous date with back in the day.
One of the appeals of There’s Something About Mary was the star-studded cast which included Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, and Matt Dillon. It is considered one of the funniest comedies of all time, according to several AFI lists.
4/10 Pretty Woman (1990) – $ 178.4 Million
Pretty Woman is arguably Garry Marshall’s best movie which is why it’s no surprise the romantic comedy was a massive success earning $178.4 million at the domestic box office during its release. The rom-com follows a businessman who hires a sex worker to be his date to several business engagements he needs to attend.
Estimates say the movie actually sold more tickets than any other romantic comedy, but due to the cheaper ticket sales in 1990, it doesn’t have the highest box office numbers. Still, the movie drew in fans in droves and went on to earn Roberts an Academy Award nomination for her performance.
3/10 Hitch (2005) – $179.4 Million
Will Smith stars as Alex “Hitch” Hitchens in the 2005 rom-com Hitch. The movie follows his character, who has made a living helping men woo the women of their dreams. His teaching is put to the test when he faces difficulty wooing the woman he wants to date.
Hitch went on to earn $179.4 million at the box office despite mixed reviews from critics. Given the star power of Smith, the box office numbers were most likely a product of his legion of loyal fans who couldn’t get enough of him at the time.
2/10 What Women Want (2000) – $182.8 Million
What Women Want centers on Nick Marshall, a cocky advertising executive who wakes up one morning with the ability to hear what the women around him are thinking without them knowing.
The rom-com earned $182.8 million at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo, making it extremely profitable. The original premise and cast of Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt were definitely selling points for audiences of the 2000s who flocked to the theaters to see the movie.
1/10 My Big Fat Greek Wedding – $241.4 Million
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is not only the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time but it’s also one of the best sleeper hits of all time. The movie centers on Toula, a Greek woman who falls in love with a non-Greek and becomes determined to get her family to accept him so they can get married.
The movie was made for only $5 million and went on to earn $241.4 million at the domestic box office alone, according to Box Office Mojo. While it never hit the number one spot at the box office, word of mouth from friends and family encouraging people to go see the movie kept it on the charts for several weeks despite its limited release.