Everyone loves a good romcom. During the early 90’s and 00’s, Hollywood studios gushed over releasing romantic comedies, and the romcom reign continues well into 2022. New data shows that Sanaa Lathan is romcom’s best female lead ahead of actresses Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore.
After watching over 60 romcoms from the era and tallying every kiss and heartbreak, a new study from Heart Bingo titled Hollywood Heart-throbs collected the top 20 actors known for playing roles in iconic romcoms. They broke down the numbers to conclude who is the overall best romcom actor. Their studies ranked Sanaa Lathan as the number one female casting choice and predictably Hugh Grant as the love interest.
The data shows a general correlation between Box Office revenue and a Professional Film Critic’s score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, when looking specifically at non-White actors in romcoms (like Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut, and Jennifer Lopez) a strong negative correlation was found. Despite producing better films and giving better performances, historically romcoms featuring non-White actors as leads struggle to generate the same Box Office revenue as romcoms featuring White leads.
Lathan’s three films for the study (Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar and Something New) had an average Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 70, and collectively generated $65.5 Million at the Box Office.
While romcom films starring Julia Roberts (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill and Pretty Woman) with similar Rotten Tomatoes critic scores (73) managed to generate $ 1.1 Billion.
We know that Lathan and other Black talents have been undervalued in Hollywood, but now we have the data to prove it.
Though Lathan had the lowest box office returns in the study, her films often received higher reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and had more on-screen kisses than other actresses. Julia Roberts was the most bankable actress, having the highest box office returns from her iconic roles. Roberts was the least likely actress to be dumped or cheated on.
It’s a win for our girl Sanaa Lathan landing the No. 1 spot as romcom’s best female lead. Go sis!
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