Top 10 Romantic Comedies

What are the top 10 romantic comedies of all time? That’s something most romantics would surely love to know so here is list which has been prepared by combining the box office earnings of these films from both domestic and international sources. How many have you seen?

Romantic comedy movies are a sub-group of romantic movies and are notable for being light-hearted and having plots that are often humorous. The path of true love may be thwarted, temporarily, by errors, accidents and coincidences, or by differences in social standing. ‘Notting Hill’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ are examples of romantic comedies.

The romantic comedies are contrasted with romantic drama, a further sub-group of romance films in which the main premise of the movie is concerned with the romantic attraction between the leading characters but not in a funny or humorous way. The attraction often causes them to struggle with significant questions about their lives, such as “should I remain with my current partner?” and “what am I doing with my life?” Dramatic impact is created by the emotional expression of those involved. ‘Titanic’ and ‘The Notebook’ are examples of romantic drama.

The listing below differs slightly from those top domestic earners as some which did well at home performed poorly at theaters in other countries. Others boosted their earnings considerably in the overseas market and greatly improved their ranking.

For instance, Pretty Woman, whilst 4th in domestic earnings, at $178 million, also pulled in a whopping $285 million in the foreign market to grab the top spot overall.

Overseas sales were also extremely important for Notting Hill (with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts) as it earned ‘only’ $116 on the U.S. domestic market but more than double that ($248 million) internationally to leap up to 7th place.

The Top 10 Romantic Comedies – based on gross earnings (U.S. domestic + international):

1. Pretty Woman (1990) – $463 million
2. Sex And The City (2008) – $415 m
3. What Women Want ((2000) – $374 m
4 There’s Something About Mary ((1998) – $370 m
5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) – $369 m
6. Hitch (2005) – $368 m
7. Notting Hill (1999) – $364 m
8. The Proposal (2009) – $315 m
9. Runaway Bride (1999) – $309 m
10. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) – $299 m

The queen of romantic comedies is clearly Julia Roberts. She starred in four of the top 10 movies listed above – Pretty Woman (1990), Notting Hill (1999), Runaway Bride (1999) and My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997). The 90s were clearly good for her. Cameron Diaz managed to star in two – There’s Something About Mary (1998) and My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997).

A high production budget is not always a guarantee of success, nor is it a good indicator as Pretty Woman had a budget of only $14 million – Julia Roberts was relatively unknown at the time and her fee for that movie was only $300,000, being mainly known for her role in Steel Magnolias (1989). She was not the first choice for the lead in Pretty Woman, gaining the role only after a number of other, better known, actresses had turned it down as ‘too sexist’ or ‘degrading to women’.

Another movie which far surpassed expectations was My Big, Fat Greek Wedding (2002). It had a budget of only $5 million and earned $241 million at the U.S. box office alone (far surpassing Pretty Woman on $178 million), more than any other romantic comedy. It also earned a respectable $127 million in overseas sales. While not as successful internationally as Pretty Woman (which managed $285 million), it allowed MBFGW to secure the number 5 spot for a modest outlay.

Romantic comedies are hugely popular with the cinema going public, as well as home viewers. A list of the top-rated and successful romantic movies can be a very useful guide in viewer selection.