Although everyone has their own favorite film genre, there is nothing better on a date night than a romance movie. If people can relate to the characters, they can imagine that they are also experiencing romance in their own lives. For these reasons, romance movies are some of the most popular films. Of course, it is not just the romantic storyline that makes a great film, it is also the direction and the actors in the lead roles. This is why some films do significantly better than others commercially. The combination of great characters and a captivating story mean that a film can achieve astronomic success at the box office. It is worth noting that with adjustment for inflation, the 1939 film ‘Gone With the Wind’ would rank in top position as it would have grossed $3.4 billion, says Two Eggz. Without inflation, here are the top 20 romance movies in terms of worldwide box office gross.
20. What Women Want – $374 Million
Roger Ebert describes this 2000 film as a comedy about a man who is jolted by electricity and then develops the ability to hear what women are thinking. Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt play the lead roles in this film. It was directed by Nancy Meyers and co-written by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, and Diane Drake.
19. Fifty Shades Darker – $381 Million
Released in 2017, this is the second film in the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy, which is based on the series of novels by E.L. James. This erotic romantic drama film was directed by James Foley and has a screenplay written by Niall Leonard. The lead roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey are played by Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, respectively. Others who starred in this film include Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Eric Johnson, Bella Heathcote, Luke Grimes, and Victor Rasuk.
18. Twilight – $393 Million
Based on Stephanie Meyer’s book of the same name, this 2008 romantic fantasy film was written by Melissa Rosenberg and directed by Catherine Hardwicke. It is about the love that develops between a teenage girl called Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, and a vampire called Edward Cullen, portrayed by Robert Pattinson. Not only was this blockbuster movie a big hit at the box office, but it was also the most purchased DVD of 2009. It was nominated for and won multiple awards, including four MTV Movie Awards.
17. Sex and the City: The Movie – $415 Million
‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ was based on the popular HBO series of the same name. Released in 2008, this romantic comedy film was written and directed by Michael Patrick King, and it was King’s directorial debut. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon played the main characters in both the movie and the television series. The film was made on a budget of $65 million and grossed $415 million at the worldwide box office.
16. A Star Is Born – $435 Million
The third remake of the original 1937 film, this musical romantic drama film was released in 2018. ‘A Star is Born’ was one of the biggest hits of 12018, and it was listed as one of the top ten films of 2018 by both the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review. The fil was written by Eric Roth Will Fetters and Bradley Cooper. The latter also produced and directed the movie, as well as playing the lead male role opposite Lady Gaga as the lead female. Others who starred in this movie include Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay, and Sam Elliot.
15. La La Land – $446.1 Million
‘La La Land’ is a 2016 romantic comedy-drama musical film. It was written by Damien Chazelle, who originally wrote the script in 2010 but struggled to get a studio to take up the project. It was eventually taken on by Summit Entertainment, and Chazelle went on to direct the film. Despite only having a budget of $30 million, the film went on to gross $46.1 million at the worldwide box office. In the film, Emma Stone plays an aspiring actress opposite Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist. The couple falls in love after they have both moved to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams.
14. Pearl Harbor – $449.2 Million
An epic romantic war drama film, ‘Pearl Harbor’ was released in 2011. It received negative reviews from critics, who criticized the historical inaccuracies of the storyline. Despite the reviews, it was a commercial success. ‘Pearl Harbor’ was written by Randall Wallace and directed by Michael Bay. Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale played the lead roles, and the movie also starred Josh Hartnett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Alec Baldwin, and Colm Feore.
13. Pretty Woman – $463 Million
Lead actress Julia Roberts won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of sex worker Vivian Ward in this 1990 romantic comedy movie. She played this character opposite Richard Gere, who portrayed wealthy businessman Edward Lewis. The unlikely couple falls in love, despite their very different lifestyles. J.F. Lawton wrote the screenplay for this movie, which was directed by Gary Marshall.
12. Ghost – $505.7 Million
This is another movie that has become one of the best known and most popular romance movies. It is also responsible for one of the most iconic movie scenes of all-time as the scene where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s characters sit at the pottery wheel together is instantly recognizable as being from this film. This movie also made the phrase ‘ditto’ popular, as it is what the male lead says repeatedly instead of ‘I love you too’. ‘Ghost’ was released in 1990. In addition to Swayze and Moore, the film also starred Whoopi Goldberg. It was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker. The movie was nominated for 23 awards of which it won 16, including two Oscars.
11. Cinderella – $543.5 Million
Then adaptation of the 1950 animated film of the same name was released in 2015. This romantic fantasy film was written by Chris Weitz and directed by Kenneth Branagh. The film features Lily James in the titular role, and also starred Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Holliday Grainger, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, and Stellan Skarsgard. It received multiple award nomination and great critical acclaim.
10. The Mermaid – $553.8 Million
Released as ‘Mei Ren Yu’ in China, ‘The Mermaid’ is not included in many lists of the highest-grossing romantic films. This is because they are only based on United States domestic box office figures and do not take into account how much the film has grossed at the worldwide box office. However, it is listed by The Numbers. This Chinese film was released in 2016, and it was the highest-grossing film in China that year. It was also hugely popular in many other Asian countries. An interesting fact is that the film was never released in Taiwan. This is because there are cultural laws that only allow the release of ten Chinese films in a year. Lots are drawn and each of the films is given a number, with only numbers one to ten being released. Unfortunately, ‘The Mermaid’ was number 44.
9. Fifty Shades of Grey – $571 Million
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by E.L. James, this erotic romance movie was released in 2015 and premiered at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. The film starred Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Following its release, this film broke numerous box office records. It was written by Kelly Marcel and directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
8. Forrest Gump – $678.1 Million
‘Forrest Gump’ is one of those movies that fit into multiple genres and has something for everyone. However, it definitely has a romantic theme running throughout the storyline and it is included in the IMDb based on domestic gross box office figures. Tom Hanks starred as the titular character, and the film was written by Eric Roth and directed by Robert Zemeckis. The story is based on Winston Groom’s 1986 novel, although the film and the novel differ significantly. This film won six Academy Awards for Best Actor for Hanks, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
7. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $698.5 Million
A 2010 romantic fantasy film, this was the third installment in ’The Twilight Saga’ series of films. Although the film received many bad reviews from critics, it was a commercial success. Prior to the release of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2’ in 2011, this film held the record for the biggest midnight opening in the United States and Canada as it grossed an estimated $30 million.
6. The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $709.7 Million
The success of ‘The Twilight Saga’ series of films continued with the success of the second installment of the series. Written by Melissa Rosenberg and directed by Chris Weitz, the cast of the first film reprised their roles for the second installment. Despite its commercial success, this film received mixed reviews from critics.
5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 – $712.2 Million
The fourth in ‘The Twilight Saga’ series of films, it was released in 2011. Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner reprised their roles. Bill Condon directed this romantic fantasy film, while Melissa Rosenberg returned as the writer. This movie achieved commercial success despite being panned by critics.
4. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – $829.7 Million
‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2’ is the fifth and final installment of ‘The Twilight Saga’ series of films. This romantic drama fantasy film was released in 2012. It was written by Melissa Rosenberg and directed by Bill Condon. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson reprised their roles as Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. This was the most commercially successful film of all the movies in the series.
3. Aladdin – $1.047 Billion
A musical romantic fantasy film, this 2019 film is a live-action adaptation of the 1992 Disney animation of the same name, both of which are based on the tale from ‘One Thousand and One Nights’. The storyline follows a street urchin called Aladdin who falls in love with Princess Jasmine, battles the wicked Jafar, and befriends a Genie who grants him wishes. It was directed by Guy Ritchie, who also co-wrote this film with John August. The movie starred Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Marwan Kenzari, and Naomi Scott.
2. Beauty and the Beast – $1.264 Billion
Disney has produced several versions of the film ‘Beauty and the Beast’ over the years, but it is the 2017version that has become one of the highest-grossing romance movies based on worldwide box office figures. This version was directed by Bill Condon and co-written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos. A live-action adaptation of the 1991 animation, the movie was predominantly filmed in the UK. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens play the lead roles in this film. Other actors include Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, and Emma Thompson in supporting roles.
1. Titanic – $2.1 Billion
Widely considered one of the greatest and most iconic romance movies of all-time, ‘Titanic’ is also the highest-grossing in this genre, says The Street. One of the most memorable scenes from the film is the lead characters, Rose and Jack, standing together at the helm of the ship with their arms outstretched. ‘Titanic’ is an epic romance and disaster film that was released in 1997, and the storyline is a fictionalized account of the real-life events of the RMS Titanic hitting an iceberg and sinking during its maiden voyage in 1912. It was written, directed, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio played the lead roles in this movie.