Happy Valentines Day, everyone! I hope your film career is as amazing as your love life, or vice versa depending on which one is further ahead! Since today is a day for lovers, soul-mates, roses and chocolates, I thought it’d be appropriate to go over some of the greatest Valentines Day box office releases. We’ll examine the top five Valentines Day releases, and how these films fared internationally versus domestically. Thus, without further ado, let’s explore the most successful V-day releases!

1) Hitch (2005)
Released February 11, 2005, this $70 million budgeted film made $179,495,555 domestically, and an additional $188,604,865 internationally, giving it a total of $368,100,420 at the box office worldwide. The international box office accounted for 51.2% of the picture’s total gross. Hitch earned $43,142,214 on opening weekend with a release into 3,575 theatres. This picture came in third in the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time.

2) 50 First Dates (2004)
Released February 13, 2004, this Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore starrer had $75 million production budget, that earned $120,908,074 at the domestic box office. An additional $75,574,808 was earned internationally, giving the picture a total worldwide gross of $196,482,882. However, unlike Hitch, which earned slightly more overseas than it did domestically, 50 First Dates only earned 38.5% of its total gross from internationally markets. One reason for this is because Will Smith was one the largest A-list draws on the planet at the time Hitch was released, while 50 First Dates was more comedy than romantic, and comedies tend to perform better in the country they were developed in.

50 First Dates enjoyed an opening weekend of $39,852,237 when it was released in 3,591 theatres. This film ranks #18 on the list of the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time.

Side Note: Although I loved the chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in this film, the original cast was Jim Carrey and Julia Roberts. Since Jim and Julia’s stars were decisively brighter than Adam and Drew’s at the time, I often wonder how much better the film would have performed internationally with Jim Carry and Julia Roberts.

3) Valentines Day (2010)
Released February 12, 2010, this $52 million budgeted film that housed a cornucopia of A-list actors, made an astonishing $56,260,707 in its open weekend when it played in 3,665 theatres. Unfortunately, the opening weekend take accounted for 50.9% of its total $110,485,684 gross, meaning the word-of-mouth was less than stellar. The film also earned an additional $106,000,000 internationally, giving it a total worldwide gross of $216,485,684. The film earned 51% of its gross domestically and 49% internationally and it ranks #23 on the list of the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time.

Side Note: When we examine the fact that over 50% of the income from this film’s 84-day release was earned in the first 72 hours, we can easily see that the studio (Warner Brothers) marketed the hell out of the release of this film in order to squeeze out as much box office return as possible over its opening weekend, because they knew the picture’s word-of–mouth would ultimately sink its box office sustainability.

4) Just Go With It (2011)
Released February 11, 2011, this $80 million budgeted film is Adam Sandler’s second entry in this list. This film earned $103,028,109 domestically and $111,917,482, giving it a worldwide total of $214,945,591. 47.9% of the box office was domestic, while 52.1% was earned internationally. As for the opening weekend, $30,514,732 was earned in 3,548 theatres. As for this film’s place in history, it ranks #25 on the list of the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time.

5) The Wedding Singer (1998)
Released on February 13, 1998, this $21 million budget film made $80,245,725 domestically. Since only $43,061,262 was earned internationally, 65.1% of this picture’s $123,306,987 worldwide take was earned in North America (34.9% was earned overseas).

The opening weekend earned $18,865,080 in 2,821 theatres, making it the only picture in this top five that did not win its opening weekend at the box office. However, The Wedding Singer grew some pretty sexy legs, because it’s positive word-of-mouth helped its domestic box office nearly quadruple its $21 million budget.

Of course, this film is also Adam Sandler’s third on this top-five list, and Drew Barrymore’s second.

Side Note: This film made Adam Sandler a bona fide star, catapulting his fee to $20 million per picture.

Now that we’ve laid out the top five box office releases over Valentines Day, lets examine a few trends that have arisen.

Adam Sandler is the “king” of Valentines Day releases.
With three of the top five V-Day releases under his well-paid belt, Adam Sandler has claimed Valentines Day as his time to dominate. Sandler has enjoyed his three hits over a 13-year span, The Wedding Singer (1998) 50 First Dates (2004) and Just Go With It (2011), making him a great V-Day investment.

Valentines Day Releases Boost The Film’s Box Office
Every film on this top-five list earned from nearly three to more than five times its production budget in its worldwide box office. The average theatrical release needs to earn two and a half to three times its budget to break even, but a nice splash at the box office can trigger healthy returns beyond the most romantic time of the year.

Valentines Day Releases Boost The Seasonal Box Office
Since Oscar-worthy films have to be released on or before Christmas Day to be considered for nomination and summer blockbusters don’t spring up until May, Valentines Day releases can often fill a box office void in the months that are traditionally without major releases (January, February, March, and part of April). While not every Valentines Day release is a success (there are many bombs, but I wanted to keep this article positive since it’s Valentines Day), studios are well aware that they have a captive audience on V-Day, so they strategize their release schedule accordingly.

Valentines Day Releases Require A-List Stars
While I’m sure there have been wonderful independent films released around Valentines Day, only A-list riddled, studio driven releases can draw millions of people on dates to the theatres. Simply put, moviegoers may love indie films, but most of them will only pay to see the biggest and brightest stars in romantic comedies on Valentines Day.

Okay, people. That’s what I’ve wrangled for you this week. As always, I thank you for lending me your eyes, and I hope to borrow them again next Tuesday.

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  1. Bwakathaboom says:

    Interesting read but I’m not sure how this applies to independent filmmakers.

    Filmmakers don’t really get a say in the release date and independent distributors don’t have the resources for a Valentine’s Day wide-release or, even more likely, any theatrical release at all.

  2. shamim Zaidi says:

    Very well done. Keep up the fine job.

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