Anyone But You didn't get off to the best of starts after its much-hyped arrival in cinemas over the Christmas period.
It might have debuted Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but swiftly dropped below 60% after those initial positive reviews (it currently stands at 53%). Audiences weren't much kinder, with a B+ CinemaScore in the US, where anything below an A is considered underwhelming.
Anyone But You could then only manage an $8million debut over the four-day Christmas weekend in the US, so hopes weren't high that this was the rom-com saviour we had hoped for.
But then Anyone But You just kept going at the box office in the US and worldwide to become one of the biggest rom-coms of recent years.
So what happened?
In recent years, it's generally been on streaming platforms where rom-coms have had their resurgence, bar the odd starry cinema release like Ticket to Paradise in 2022.
It's telling that the biggest new rom-com releases for Valentine's Day this year are not at the cinema. We've already had Upgraded, starring Camila Mendes and Archie Renaux, on Prime Video and we've got Players, starring Gina Rodriguez and Tom Ellis, on Netflix out on the big day itself.
There's not a new rom-com in sight, so if you want that option, then Anyone But You is still the only ticket in town. Its box-office performance suggests, however, that maybe that shouldn't be the case, and there should be more out there.
Following that soft opening in the US and globally, Anyone But You now stands at an impressive $170 million worldwide after eight weeks of release.
The tally includes $80.1 million at the US box office and, if we take the opening three-day result of $6 million into account, that's more than 13 times its debut. It's a feat repeated in the UK where it opened with £733,416 and is now nearing £10 million, also a 13x multiplier (via Screen Daily).
In its second weekend of release in the US, Anyone But You even went up 45.6% week-on-week, marking the third-best holdover in history, and in its third weekend, it earned more than it did in its first weekend too.
The result means that it's already outgrossed Ticket to Paradise's $168.8 million global result to become one of the most successful rom-coms of recent years. It's the best performance for a rom-com since Crazy Rich Asians made $237.8 million worldwide in 2018.
What's most impressive about that record is that Anyone But You is an R-rated rom-com, compared to the more family-friend PG-13 rating for Ticket to Paradise.
The box-office success led Sony to release a new "Valentine Encore" version of the movie with bonus content, such as a musical blooper reel at the end of the credits, much like Sony did with Spider-Man: No Way Home.
There are likely multiple factors to why Nobody But You has blossomed at the box office, including Sony keeping it an exclusive theatrical release without a digital release yet and a lack of truly exciting alternatives for cinemagoers.
But perhaps one of the biggest contributors to its success, and a sign of how the industry needs to pivot with theatrical rom-com releases, is the way Anyone But You has engaged a younger demographic.
Sony has cleverly used TikTok to boost visibility of the movie to an 18-24 year old market, capitalising on the existing appeal of lead stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, but also encouraging people to record their own version of the credit sequence.
According to Vulture, the hashtag for the movie on TikTok had garnered more than 1.5 billion views on TikTok by the end of January.
It's perhaps no surprise that one of 2024's biggest hits to date has also appealed to a younger audience. Mean Girls, which is now nearing $100 million worldwide, also saw Paramount utilise TikTok to boost visibility of the movie to its key demographic.
Even with the success of Anyone But You, it doesn't guarantee we'll get an influx of theatrical rom-coms. Even if we did, it's not a sure thing that every single release would sustain as well as this movie has.
However, Anyone But You has at least proved that rom-coms are not just for Netflix.
Anyone But You is out now in cinemas.
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