5 reasons Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell's rom-com 'Anyone but You' has become a box-office sensation

5 reasons Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell's rom-com 'Anyone but You' has become a box-office sensation
  • "Anyone but You" is the rare romantic comedy to become a box-office hit.

  • The movie has made over $100 million at the global box office.

  • Here are five reasons the movie is successful.

When the romantic comedy "Anyone but You" opened in theaters over Christmas weekend, the competition for audience attention was stiff. Up against the DC Comics blockbuster "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," the family-friendly animated film "Migration," and the A24 critical darling "The Iron Claw," it wasn't a shock that when the smoke cleared, the Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney film made only $6 million over the weekend — $8 million if you count into Christmas Day earnings.

At the time, it seemed like just the latest example of how rom-coms, once cash cows, were now poison for studios.

But in a twist that mirrored the enemies-to-lovers premise of "Anyone but You," Sony didn't throw in the towel. Instead, it continued putting the movie out on thousands of screens. And to everyone's shock, audiences began to show up.

Thanks to bigger titles underperforming — sorry, Aquaman — and an enormous amount of word-of-mouth goodwill, "Anyone but You" became a must-see.

Now going into its sixth weekend in theaters, "Anyone but You" has surpassed the $100 million mark at the global box office and has become the first hit movie of the new year.

Below are five reasons "Anyone but You" garnered so much buzz and became a box-office hit.

1. The red-hot chemistry between Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell

Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney standing next to each other
We could not wait for them to fall for each other. Sony

The main ingredient in a memorable rom-com is the on-screen connection between its two stars. But even when something looks good on paper, it's hard to fake chemistry on-screen.

Thankfully, the spark between Sweeney and Powell ignites as Will Gluck, the director, deftly teases out the will-they-wont-they dynamic between their characters for most of the movie. The buildup makes the moment they finally get together all the more satisfying.

The chemistry is so real that Powell and Sweeney were frequently rumored to be dating in real life, though both have denied ever having a relationship.

2. Sweeney is great at slapstick comedy

Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell in "Anyone But You"
She showed a different side in this movie.Sony Pictures

One of the most surprising aspects of the movie is how good Sweeney is at wacky, slapstick comedy.

From having to frantically dry her pants with the hand dryer in the public bathroom to straddling a sleeping Powell on an airplane, it was a pleasant surprise to see the "Euphoria" star showcase her comedic talents.

3. The beautiful locations

Sydney Sweeney standing in a truck next to Glen Powell walking
You basically want to buy a ticket to Sydney after watching this movie.Brook Rushton/Sony

Part of the joy of a rom-com is escapism: for a couple hours, you can forget about your own life and sit in the comfort of knowing the story unfolding in front of you will ultimately have a happy ending. It's even better when that story takes place somewhere exotic — think of the settings of previous rom-com hits such as "Ticket to Paradise" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

Shot predominantly in Australia, "Anyone but You" is filled with aerial shots of the ocean nearly as swoon-worthy as the central love story.

4. Powell understood the assignment

Glen Powell making a face next to Sydney Sweeney
Powell knew he had to play a jerk to make the movie work. Sony

The key to rom-com success is that the male lead can't take himself too seriously. As a student of the genre — before he hit it big as an actor, he was a script reader for the renowned rom-com producer Lynda Obst, who worked on "Sleepless in Seattle," "One Fine Day," and "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" — Powell understood that his character had to be a convincing foil.

"I believed we are taking this journey in the movie through the eyes of Bea, Sydney's character, and the job of a male in a rom-com is to not look cool. If that character leaves the movie looking cool, you have failed the audience," Powell previously told Business Insider.

"He needs to take as many punches, get your clothes ripped off, and be as embarrassed as possible," he continued, adding that he told the director to "throw as much at me as humanly possible because that's my function."

And boy did it work, Glen!

5. It left us wanting more

Glen Powell looking at Sydney Sweeney in front of a table of food
When can we get these two back on-screen together?Brook Rushton/Sony

If Hollywood is consistently great at one thing, it's replicating success.

And after such an impressive showing, you have to imagine people are making phone calls right now trying to figure out how to get Sweeney and Powell together on-screen again.

And we don't mean an "Anyone but You" sequel. The beauty of the rom-com is that there can be a whole new set of characters and scenarios — as long as the two stars come back with winning chemistry, anything goes.

With any luck, Sweeney and Powell could follow in the footsteps of legendary rom-com duos such as Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.

Perhaps they'll resuscitate the big-studio romantic comedy along the way, too.

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