Density functional calculations on “catch and release” complexes of C60 with corannulene derived molecular bowls show that computationally obtained 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) chemical shifts can be used as a reliable predictor of binding constants. A wide range of functionals was benchmarked against accurate ab initio calculations to ensure a credible representation of the weak forces that dominate the interactions in these systems. The most reliable density functional theory (DFT) results were then calibrated using experimentally observed NMR data. Careful analysis and comparison of a wide range of commonly used density functionals shows that the explicit inclusion of dispersion corrections is currently the only reliable way to accurately describe the systems investigated in our study. Moreover, we are able to show that the B97-D and ωB97X-D functionals are not only able to reproduce ab initio benchmark calculations, but they do so accurately with a moderately sized basis sets and without the problems of numerical integration we encountered with other functionals in this study. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.