The big talk of the top of 2024 is a romantic comedy that's destroying box office expectations and signifying the return of the genre. That's right, Anyone But You is getting 2024 started with a bang.

It's a love story that started like any other. You set out with humble intentions to make a modestly budgeted Shakespeare-inspired romantic comedy and book two of the prettiest, most likable leads currently working in Hollywood. You spend $25 million on the project, land on an R rating, and release it against Yung Wonkaand the Not-Your-Father's Aquaman's epitaph of the Synderverse (RIP).

It gets middling reviews and an average opening weekend return averaging out to $6 million (7.5% of the total gross). This is all to get back at your ex.

You're now on your second theatrical release thanks to a holiday appropriate "Valentines Encore," sitting at a box office return of $170M at the total global box office. That's $145M in profits gained.

Now you're in love. And you got back at your ex.

Dropping our ex (purely fictionalized for the sake of journalism), the success of Anything But You is quite fascinating and beneficial for us to explore. Read our analysis of this box office smash below.

No... uh... pun intended. Really.

Breaking Down the Numbers

We don't want to claim we're treading new territory here.

Anyone But You's box office success has a long romantic history of "wow!' articles and solid box office analysis. But what better time than Valentines Day and the release of the Anyone But You: The Valentine Encore to take a big picture look at the numbers overtime. (Plus, I mean, they're riffing on Much Ado About Nothing for crying our loud).

One thing that's especially interesting to take note of is its Box Office Multiplayer. If you're unfamiliar, this is a metric that's measured if you divide a films total box office by its weekend box office. Anyone But You currently scores a 28.35.

And what does, say, Barbie, highest grossing movie of the year and 14th of all time score? An 8.86.

Now, money isn't everything. And this deficit makes quite a lot of sense if you consider Barbie was tracking a huge opening weekend, and Anyone But You not so much. But it is a particularly interesting metric to consider the staying power of a popular enough romantic comedy with the right amount of gusto at its heels.

By no means do we intend to pit charming movies led by women against each other, but for the sake of numbers and metrics it's interesting to compare the two based on budget and long-term gains. Barbie is objectively more successful, but breaking things down it's easy to see how Anyone But You is the little rom com that could:


Anyone But You: $25 million

Barbie: $151 million

Opening Weekend

Anyone But You: $6 million

Barbie: $162 million

Domestic Box Office

Anyone But You: $80 million

Barbie: $636 million

International Box Office

Anyone But You: $90 million

Barbie: $800 million

Worldwide Box Office

Anyone But You: $170 million

Barbie: $1.44 billion

Sourced from as of February 13, 2024

These numbers might seem mostly irrelevant at face value (Barbie's are higher in most places, big whoop), but the big takeaway once you break them down is worldwide box office budget compared to production budget.

The total gross for Barbie stands at 9.5 times its production budget; Anyone But You stands at close to 7 and is still growing.

A Cultural Analysis: 'Titanic', Shakespeare, and Natasha Bedingfield Needle Drops

Anyone But You Box Office Success

Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, cuties in Sydney in Anyone But You

Brook Rushton/Sony Pictures

It's no denying that Anyone But You is without its influences.

To begin, Anyone But You is modeled after one of the oldest (the oldest?) romantic comedies ever written and performed, the aforementioned romp Much Ado About Nothing by no one other than Billy Shakespeare himself.

While this is no Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, or Romero Versus Juliet rehash, it goes without saying that a little bit of Shakespeare goes a long way. This is an innocent and modest enough way to instantly boost appeal to your movie—and, hey, doesn't hurt to give the classics a little bit of love either.

While Shakespeare's iambic prowess was pretty direct in the marketing (Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell are not shy!), there are a couple other pop culture references scattered throughout that I feel like maybe aided in establishing Anyone But You as a powerhouse of pop culture. The two that really stood out to me? Titanic and Natasha Bedingfield.

Now—stick with me here—Titanic isn't a "romantic comedy", per se, but Titanicis one of the highest grossing movies of all time with arguably the most romantic human story amongst its box office competitors (re: all of them, as they are comprised of dinosaurs, aliens, and sexless super heroes).

While we all love a good Titanic reference, I think incorporating it deep within the script how Anyone But You writers Llana Wolpert and Will Gluck do is a smart choice, equally satirizing and referencing in a wink that tethers their film to the most financially successful "romantic" movie ever made.

Pure analysis? Absolutely, folks. But I do think there is power in pop culture that's undeniable, which leads me to Natasha Bedingfield and her all-time banger, "Unwritten".

Where have the days of a fun, irresistibly-catchy pop needle drop gone? It sometimes seems like a bygone era to leave a theater uplifted by pop that doesn't seem unearned or cheesy. We're certainly in a bit of a nice moment of the pop needle drop resurgence (see: Stranger Things, Saltburn, and most recently the under-appreciatedScrambled ), but is it here to last?

To note, director and co-writer Will Gluck similarly reminded the public conscious of Natasha Bedingfield with "Pocket Full of Sunshine" in Easy A, so he's no stranger to a well executed needle drop.

As seen with the aforementioned needle drops of today, incorporating a good track into your movie can be a symbiotic success in so many ways. While "Unwritten" soars back up the charts, we remember it's back in the public conscious because of Any One But You. Same With Kate Bush and Stranger Things, "My Heart Will Go On" and Titanic, and "Murder on the Dancefloor" and, um, Barry Keoghan.

To tie everything together, pop culture seemingly plays an interesting and potentially pivotal role in the success of Anyone But You—a romantic comedy very much playing into and embracing the tropes that came before it, while also creating a modern space for itself as its own entity.

What We Learned From Moving On From The' Anyone But You' Box Office 

Anyone but you, box office, budget

Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell reaching for bread in Anyone But You

Brook Rushton/Sony Pictures

Movie theaters are in a weird, scary place these days. Streaming and COVID took a number on our beloved shared cinema space, and our once trusted box office super hero saviors are in a massive decline.

We had some relief with Barbenheimer, and we're all hoping that won't be the lightening in the bottle it very well may be. For now, it's worth celebrating our one tentpole box office heroes in the shape of the romantic comedy and horror flick are at least having a nice moment.

This performance underscores the enduring appeal of the romantic comedy genre and the importance of star power and positive audience reception in driving a film's success beyond its initial release.

The unexpected box office triumph of Anyone But You offers several insights for Hollywood, especially in an era increasingly dominated by streaming platforms. Key lessons include:

  • Star Power and Chemistry Are Essential: The pivotal performances of Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney highlighted the importance of casting actors whose on-screen dynamics can attract audiences. This suggests that investing in emerging talents with a strong screen presence can significantly enhance a film's appeal.
  • The Impact of Positive Word of Mouth: The film's revenue boost weeks post-release underscores the significance of favorable word of mouth. In today's digital age, where social media and online reviews play a crucial role, ensuring that a movie connects well with its audience is crucial for its prolonged success.
  • Romantic Comedies Still Draw Crowds: Contrary to the belief that romantic comedies have migrated to streaming services, Anyone But You proves that the genre retains a substantial theatrical audience. This demonstrates that well-crafted stories, coupled with effective marketing, can still attract moviegoers to theaters.
  • Strategic Release Timing Can Benefit a Film: Releasing the film during a quiet period at the box office, devoid of significant competition, allowed it to gain attention and traction. This indicates that carefully choosing a release date is vital for a film's visibility and success.
  • Adaptability in Marketing and Distribution Is Key: Sony's approach to the film's promotion and theatrical strategy underscores the necessity of adaptable marketing and distribution plans. Recognizing and responding to market trends, and being willing to adjust strategies based on initial performances, can maximize a film's success potential.

Let me know what you think of all this in the comments—and don't forget to go see movies!

Anyone But You: The Valentines Encore is in theaters a couple more weeks, probably. The rest is still unwritten.