Most Popular Movies for Valentine’s Day Since 1980

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

In 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down, including movie theatres, Americans were projected to spend a record $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day, according to industry advocacy group, National Retail Federation. The beneficiaries of all that spending are not only those receiving gifts. The holiday is a financial boon for florists, chocolatiers, restaurants, jewelers, and, of course, Hollywood.

The U.S. film industry generated a record $43.4 billion in revenue in 2017. While movie ticket sales tend to surge during the summer blockbuster season, holiday-oriented pictures can also fill seats throughout the year. These are the best holiday movies ever made.

In recent decades, stalwart date-night genres like drama, horror, and romantic comedy have dominated the box office in mid-February. While the most popular movie in theaters on Valentine’s Day does not always reflect the spirit of the holiday, movies like “Titanic” in 1998, 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and “50 First Dates” in 2004 each grossed over $10 million at the box office on Valentine’s Day alone.

In 2019, the romantic comedy parody “Isn’t It Romantic” hits theaters on Valentine’s Day. The timing is certainly no coincidence.

24/7 Tempo reviewed the highest grossing movie at the box office on Feb. 14 each year since 1980 with data from industry tracking sites Box Office Mojo and The Numbers. Years for which daily revenue was not available, we used revenue for the week or weekend of Valentine’s Day and noted those instances. We also included the average price of a movie ticket each year with data from the National Association of Theatre Owners.

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