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Does Anyone But You’s Success Mean a Rom-Com Renaissance Is On Its Way?

Box office success of ‘Anyone But You’ may convince Hollywood to kickstart the long-awaited “rom-com renaissance”.

Image credit: YouTube / Sony Pictures Entertainment

There is no question that the production of blockbuster romantic comedies has become a lost art. Streaming services have revived the popularity of many beloved rom-com classics like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 27 Dresses, 13 Going On 30, and so many more.

It is hard to deny that there is just something different and magical about these early 2000s rom-coms. Could it be the writing? The chemistry between co-stars? The killer soundtracks? Whatever it is, Gen-Z has taken notice of it. Social media has been booming for the past couple of years with requests to bring back “real” rom-coms. The box office success of the 2023 romantic comedy Anyone But You has given hope to many young fans of the genre that the rom-com renaissance they have been begging for may be in sight.

Anyone But You was released on December 22, 2023. The film follows Ben (Glen Powell) and Bea (Sydney Sweeney). The two have an amazing first date but it soon takes a turn for the worst. Their attraction to each other transforms into hatred. They are reunited at a destination wedding in Australia. They decide to fake being a couple in front of their close friends and family. What could go wrong?

Box office success of ‘Anyone But You’

Anyone But You exceeded all expectations and surprised everyone with its box office success. After the first weekend, the film was expected to hit at most $25 million in the United States. This did not end up being the case. Unlike most films released in cinemas, Anyone But You did not peak in sales during opening week.

The numbers for this film have increased each week since its release. The sales have reached a new peak every week, even now after the movie has been in theatres for four weeks. This has caused the box office numbers to skyrocket above what was predicted for the movie.

As of January 15th, Anyone But You has grossed $56.7 million domestically and $22.8 million internationally. This comes to a total of $79.5 million globally. It is now expected to reach over $100 million. For a film with a budget of $25 million, Anyone But You is considered a great and surprising success. These numbers prove to studios that there is a demand for romantic comedies and money to be made from them.

Glenn Powell and Sydney Sweeney star as Ben and Bea in the box office success, 'Anyone But You'.
Glenn Powell and Sydney Sweeney star in ‘Anyone But You’. Credit: YouTube / Sony Pictures Entertainment

Gen-Z’s response to the film

One of the biggest things that Anyone But You did, right? Pleasing the new generation of rom-com lovers. The older side of Gen-Z (ages 17-26) forms a huge chunk of the target audience for this movie. They are also the main leaders of the campaign for the rom-com renaissance. For this film to do well, it had to earn the approval of Gen-Z. To say it did so successfully would be an understatement.

Anyone But You did not receive the best reviews from critics, but the reviews of Gen-Z blew those right out of the water. Young fans sharing their opinions on the internet is undoubtedly responsible for the weekly increase in box office numbers. As the movie goes more and more viral, more and more people want to go watch it.

One of the ways that fans have shared their love for the movie on social media is by participating in a current trend on TikTok. The trend features fans dancing out of the movie theater to Natasha Bedingfield’s iconic hit, “Unwritten.”

The song plays a key (and hilarious) part in the movie. Most of the TikToks are often captioned “Us after watching Anyone But You.” Others are just fans captioning their videos with praise for the movie, declaring things like “Anyone But You is one of those movies that you immediately wish you could watch again for the first time,” “Anyone But You is the rom-com of the century,” and “10000/10”.

The trend has created a ton of publicity for the movie and shows how beloved the genre of romantic comedies is. Even Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney got in on the fun!

@anyonebutyoumovie

Live footage of every movie theater since #AnyoneButYou came out.

♬ Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

Co-star chemistry

Another thing that has contributed to the success of the film is the lead actors. When it was first announced that Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell would have the leading roles in an enemies-to-lovers, fake dating rom-com the internet was ecstatic. Sydney Sweeney is best known for her memorable performance in Euphoria as Cassie Howard. Glenn Powell is best known for his role in Top Gun: Maverick as Lieutenant Jake “Hangman” Seresin.

However, this is not the role that made many people excited to see him in Anyone But You. In 2018, Powell starred in the Netflix original Set It Up alongside Zoey Deutch. The film has been said to be one of the best modern rom-coms, largely due to the charm that Powell brings to the screen.

The film stars continued to make waves in the media since filming officially began. Their undeniable chemistry has sparked many dating rumors, especially after Powell split from his girlfriend, Gigi Paris while filming. There were also rumors about Sweeney having relationship issues and splitting from her fiancé, Jonathan Davino flying around at the same time. Sweeney is still engaged to Davino, and the two co-stars have since denied all dating rumors.

These rumors increased press for the movie and also made people more excited to see the film. The whole internet had eyes on the pair as they did their press tour for the movie, and the tension between Powell and Sweeney was pretty much deemed undeniable. Everyone was eager to see if the tension and chemistry between the two translated onto the screen.

Glenn Powell and Sydney Sweeney promote the box office success, 'Anyone But You' with a WIRED interview.
Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney promote ‘Anyone But You’ with a WIRED Autocomplete Interview. Credit: YouTube / WIRED

‘Anyone But You’ shares qualities with everyone’s favorite classic rom-coms

Many rom-coms have been released since the early 2000s, so what makes Anyone But You so special? Why is it being credited for the possible rom-com renaissance we may see in the future? The answer is that it seems to check mostly all of the same boxes that many iconic 2000s romantic comedies did.

The writing of the film had the audience falling in love with the characters, tearing up over monologues, and laughing hysterically when they least expected it. The on-screen chemistry is reminiscent of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey’s. From Mac Miller to Natasha Bedingfield, the soundtrack was nothing short of perfect.

Great writing? Check. Undeniable chemistry? Check. Killer soundtrack? Check. This, along with tropes and plots that mirror so many iconic films, is what makes this movie stand out from other modern rom-coms. Anyone But You possesses the two beloved tropes: fake dating and enemies to lovers.

Like many other iconic rom-com, the plot of the film is inspired by the Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing. Drawing inspiration from Shakespeare’s plays is very common for this genre. Some of the best-known rom-coms have plots inspired by Shakespeare, like 10 Things I Hate About You or She’s The Man.

Taking inspiration from 2000s rom-coms but putting a modern, fresh, and original spin on it may be exactly what is needed to best replicate the magic and love that the genre is so well known for. As studios pick up on the box office success of Anyone But You and the positive fan feedback it has generated, they need to keep this in mind as they put their best foot forward in the genre of romantic comedies. Rom-com renaissance, here we come!

Written By

Azlyn is a 20-year-old student at Ohio University who has a love for writing about everything entertainment. She's all about pop music, early 2000s movies, and trending romance novels. With her finger on the pulse of pop culture and a talent for spotting the next big thing, she's always on the hunt for the latest scoop to share with her fellow entertainment enthusiasts.

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