Romantic Comedies That Broke Records At The Box Office

There’s nothing like a good ol’ romantic comedy. These films show some of the most heartwarming love stories on screen. Rom-coms have become one of the most popular genres with viewers hoping their lives could somehow be like what they see in the movies. Films such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Proposal, and Crazy Rich Asians have set records for being some of the highest-grossing romantic comedies of all-time. Keep reading to see which other romantic comedies were smash hits at the box office.

Pretty Woman Is Disney’s Top R-Rated Film

Julia Roberts and Richard Gere looking at a necklace in pretty woman
Touchstone Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Touchstone Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Garry Marshall directed one of the highest-grossing romantic comedies in cinematic history, called Pretty Woman. Released in 1990, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts starred in the film about a wealthy businessman who begins a relationship with a woman who comes to stay with him.

Pretty Woman was the third highest-grossing film of that year with $463.4 million against a $14 million budget. It was number one at the box office during its first weekend and is still Disney’s highest-grossing R-rated movie of all-time. Roberts went on to win the Best Actress Golden Globe Award for her performance.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Was Based On A True Story

actors smiling in wedding clothes in my big fat greek wedding
HBO/MovieStillsDB
HBO/MovieStillsDB

Nia Vardalos wrote and starred in the independent romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2002. It was a happy accident that the independent film became one of the most successful movies of all-time with a $368.7 million profit at the box office with just a five million dollar budget.

Vardalos based the movie on her own life growing up Greek and falling in love with someone outside her heritage. She earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture.

What Women Want Made Millions At The Box Office

Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in what women want
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Paramount Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Nancy Meyers is one of the most famous faces of romantic comedies, known for hits such as The Parent Trap and Something’s Gotta Give. Her most successful rom-com was 2000’s What Women Want starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. In the film, Gibson acquires the ability to hear what women are thinking and falls in love with his co-worker (Hunt).

Other memorable actors included Maris Tomei, Alan Alda, Judy Greer, Sarah Paulson, Ana Gasteyer, Logan Lerman, and Bette Midler. What Women Want brought in $374.1 million at the box office with a $70 million budget.

There’s Something About Mary Put Cameron Diaz On The Map

Cameron Diaz with her hair sticking up in there's something about mary
Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB
Twentieth Century Fox/MovieStillsDB

There’s Something About Mary was released in 1998 and starred Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Mat Dillon, Lee Evans, and Chris Elliot. The film follows the men as they try to make Diaz’s character fall in love with them. It became the fourth-highest grossing film of the year and made the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century.

There’s Something About Mary grossed over $369 million against a $23 million budget. Rotten Tomatoes said, “There’s Something About Mary proves that unrelentingly, unabashedly puerile humor doesn’t necessarily come at the expense of a film’s heart.”

Will Smith And Kevin James Had Stand-Out Performances In Hitch

Will Smith and Kevin James in hitch
Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Will Smith played a “date doctor” who coached men into having long-term relationships with women in 2005’s Hitch. Other cast members included Eva Mendes, Kevin James, and Michael Rapaport. Most of Smith’s movies tend to do quite well at the box office and this one didn’t disappoint.

Hitch was one of the highest-grossing films of that year with $371.6 million against a $55 million budget. The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes declared that the film was predictable, but the “solid, warmhearted” performances by Smith and James saved the movie.

Notting Hill Did Very Well In The UK

Julia Roberts in notting hill
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment/MovieStillsDB
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment/MovieStillsDB

Julia Roberts is known as the queen of romantic comedies because most of her films have topped the box office. In 1999’s Notting Hill, Roberts played an American who stumbles into a London book store. Soon enough, a romance ensues between her and the bookseller (Hugh Grant).

Notting Hill became the highest-grossing British film in history and made $363.9 million worldwide at the box office against a $42 million budget. It received three nominations at the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Disney Spoofed Themselves In Enchanted

Amy Adams in enchanted
Walt Disney Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Walt Disney Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Disney’s Enchanted was both a romantic comedy and a parody with a Disney-like fairy tale being thrown into modern-day New York City. The film starred Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Idina Menzel, and Susan Sarandon and included original songs by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Menken and Schwartz earned three Best Original Song Oscar nominations for “Happy Working Song,” “So Close,” and “That’s How You Know.”

Enchanted brought in $340.5 million at the box office against an $85 million budget, which placed it in the number one spot during Thanksgiving weekend of 2007. Also, a sequel called Disenchanted is coming to Disney+ soon.

Sandra Bullock And Ryan Reynolds Had Great Chemistry In The Proposal

Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in the proposal
Touchstone/MovieStillsDB
Touchstone/MovieStillsDB

It’s important for the leads in romantic comedies to have great chemistry, and Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds had plenty of it in 2009’s The Proposal. Bullock starred as a Type-A executive who must find someone to marry before being deported from the United States.

One of the best stand-out performances was by iconic Hollywood actress Betty White, who played Reynolds’ grandmother. The Proposal was one of the highest-grossing films of that year with $317.4 million against a budget of $40 million. The film earned awards for Best Movie at the People’s Choice Awards and the Teen Choice Awards.

As Good As It Gets Was An Oscars Favorite

Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson in as good as it gets
TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB
TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, and more starred in the 1997 romantic comedy, As Good as It Gets. Their characters end up forming an unlikely friendship, with Hunt and Nicholson falling in love after tragedy strikes. The film grossed a total of $314.1 million against a $50 million budget.

Both Hunt and Nicholson won the Best Actress and Actor Academy Awards for their performances and the film earned several other Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and more. Rotten Tomatoes said, “James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson, doing what they do best, combine smart dialogue and flawless acting to squeeze fresh entertainment value out of the romantic-comedy genre.”

Runaway Bride Got Negative Reviews

Richard Gere in runaway bride
Touchstone Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Touchstone Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Garry Marshall, Richard Gere, and Julia Roberts reunited 10 years after the release of Pretty Woman to make 1999’s Runaway Bride. The movie is about a reporter (Gere) who is assigned to write a story about a woman (Roberts) who has left multiple men at the altar.

Runaway Bride was one of the highest-grossing films at the end of the millennium by making $309.5 million against a $70 million budget. One thing that audiences may not know is that while Runaway Bride made a ton of money at the box office, it had generally negative reviews from critics.

Shakespeare In Love Is Perfect For Shakespeare Buffs

Gwyneth Paltrow in shakespeare in love
Miramax Films, Universal Studios/MovieStillsDB
Miramax Films, Universal Studios/MovieStillsDB

Fans of Shakespeare may remember the hit romantic comedy, Shakespeare in Love. The film was about the romance between William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) and Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) while he was writing Romeo and Juliet. There are also several references to other Shakespeare plays and historical figures.

Shakespeare in Love did very well at the Academy Awards by winning seven awards from their 13 nominations such as Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. The movie was also successful at the box office by grossing $289.3 million against a $25 million budget.

Bridget Jones’s Diary Is An American And British Favorite

Renee Zellweger in bridget jones's diary
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Colin Firth and Hugh Grant fight for the affection of Renée Zellweger in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. The film was based on the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice, and was filmed in London. The movie’s success inspired two sequels including Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones’s Baby.

Bridget Jones’s Diary did extremely well at both the American and British box offices and grossed $281.9 million with a $25 million budget. Fans and critics alike enjoyed Zellweger’s performance, which earned her a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars.

Jerry Maguire Answers How Much The Human Head Weighs

Tom Cruise talking on an old cell phone in jerry maguire
TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB
TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Inspired by sports agent Leigh Steinberg, Jerry Maguire centered on a sports agent who decided he wanted to go independent to form close, personal relationships with his clients. The 1996 film stars Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, and more.

Jerry ended up falling in love with a single mom and formed a tight bond with her young son. The romantic comedy made $273.6 million worldwide at the box office with a $50 million budget. Jerry Maguire was nominated for five Academy Awards and Cuba Gooding Jr. won for Best Supporting Actor.

Diane Keaton Earned An Oscar Nomination For Something’s Gotta Give

Diane Keaton sitting at a desk in something's gotta give
Columbia Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Columbia Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Nancy Meyers wrote and directed the hit romantic comedy, Something’s Gotta Give, in 2003. Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton played the romantic leads who found love later in life, even though they couldn’t be more different. Other famous co-stars included Keanu Reeves, Frances McDormand, Amanda Peet, and Jon Favreau.

Something’s Gotta Give earned $266.7 million at the box office worldwide with a budget of $80 million. Diane Keaton was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and ended up winning Best Actress at the Golden Globes, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Awards, and Satellite Awards.

Love Actually Gets Audiences Into The Christmas Spirit

Laura Linney in love actually
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Universal Pictures/MovieStillsDB

People can get into the holiday spirit with the Christmas-themed rom-com, Love Actually. This 2003 movie included a talented ensemble cast with Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, and more. Love Actually includes 10 separate love stories that take place in London.

It’s one of the most successful Christmas films with a gross of $246.8 million worldwide against a budget of $40 million. Love Actually earned two Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay. Most critics thought the overall story was a little corny, but enjoyed the actors’ performances.

Four Weddings And A Funeral Was Made In Six Weeks

Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant in four weddings and a funeral
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment/MovieStillsDB
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment/MovieStillsDB

It seemed improbable that Four Weddings and a Funeral would do so well because it was made in only six weeks with a budget of $4.4 million. It surpassed the filmmakers’ expectations by bringing in $245.7 million at the box office.

Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell starred in the romantic comedy about a group of friends who found romance after attending various social events. Four Weddings and a Funeral has a 96 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the critical consensus being: “While frothy to a fault, Four Weddings and a Funeral features irresistibly breezy humor, and winsome performances from Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell.”

Crazy Rich Asians Has Two Sequels On The Way

Constance Wu in a blue dress in crazy rich asians
Warner Bros. Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. Pictures/MovieStillsDB

One of the most recent romantic comedy box office hits is the 2018 movie, Crazy Rich Asians. Constance Wu played a college professor who visits her boyfriend’s (Henry Golding) family in Singapore. The film was praised for the performances from its ensemble cast including Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, and Michelle Yeoh.

Crazy Rich Asians was filmed with a $30 million budget, but became one of the highest-grossing films of the 2010s by earning $238.5 million. It was announced that two sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems, are in development.

Sleepless In Seattle Is A Nora Ephron Classic

Meg Ryan holding a teddy bear in sleepless in seattle
Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Nora Ephron was an iconic figure of romantic comedies and one of her best was 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle. She paired Tom Hanks with Meg Ryan in a film where two people meet and fall in love over a radio talk show.

Sleepless in Seattle featured a stellar ensemble cast as well with Bill Pullman, Rob Reiner, Gaby Hoffmann, Rosie O’Donnell, Victor Garber, Rita Wilson, David Hyde Pierce, and more. It earned $227.8 million at the worldwide box office with a budget of $21 million. The film also received two Oscar nominations for Best Original Song and Best Original Screenplay.

Meryl Streep Enters A Love Triangle In It’s Complicated

Meryl Streep smiling in it's complicated
Universal Studios/MovieStillsDB
Universal Studios/MovieStillsDB

It’s Complicated is one of the highest-grossing romantic comedies of all-time and comes from the mind of Nancy Meyers. Meryl Streep played a single mother and bakery owner who starts an affair with her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin), only to realize she’s also fallen in love with her architect (Steve Martin).

Other memorable actors included Lake Bell, Hunter Parrish, Zoe Kazan, John Krasinski, Rita Wilson, and more. It’s Complicated earned $224.6 million worldwide against a budget of $85 million. It was awarded three Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay, Best Motion Picture, and Best Actress (Streep).

Seth Rogen And Katherine Heigl Have A Baby In Knocked Up

Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen in knocked up
Apatow Productions/MovieStillsDB
Apatow Productions/MovieStillsDB

Written, produced, and directed by Judd Apatow, Knocked Up tells the story of what happens to an unlikely pair of young adults after a brief, one-night encounter. Many of Apatow’s usual casting choices appear in the movie including Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, and Martin Starr.

Knocked Up became one of 2007’s highest-grossing films by earning $219.9 million at the box office with a $30 million budget. It earned a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the critical consensus: “Knocked Up is a hilarious, poignant and refreshing look at the rigors of courtship and child-rearing, with a sometimes raunchy, yet savvy script that is ably acted and directed.”