HOLLYWOOD (RPRN) 6/22/2009–The Proposal engaged enough moviegoers to lead the weekend box office and deliver by far the biggest opening of star Sandra Bullock’s career. Couple that with strong holds for The Hangover and Up and an okay start for Year One, and overall business rose three percent over the same weekend last year, when Get Smart opened in first.
On approximately 4,100 screens at 3,056 sites, The Proposal rang up an estimated $34.1 million, which was on the high end for a romantic comedy and a career best not only for Ms. Bullock (beating the Speed movies adjusted for ticket price inflation) but for co-star Ryan Reynolds (in a leading role) as well. Distributor Walt Disney Pictures’ exit polling indicated that 63 percent of moviegoers were female and 86 percent were 18 years and older, while 71 percent were classified as “couples.” The picture’s premise of a demanding boss proposing marriage to her put-upon assistant to avoid deportation offered several trusty themes to garner audience acceptance. There was the opposites attract angle and the adversarial relationship leading to love as well as humor from the charade and fish-out-of-water situations, arising from the characters visiting family in Alaska. It all played to the strengths of the stars (this is the type of picture audiences enjoy seeing Ms. Bullock in), and Disney’s clearly-wrought marketing campaign took advantage.
Considering that audiences would have to be clubbed and dragged to similar movies of yore, Year One fared decently in its debut, plucking an estimated $20.2 million debut on around 3,600 screens at 3,022 sites, though its status as a high profile summer release featuring Jack Black and Michael Cera would dampen its performance rating. Making more in a few hours than the combined totals of Being Human and Idiocracy, Year One‘s opening was better attended than The Love Guru and Meet the Spartans among recent titles and Wholly Moses and Caveman among older ones, though History of the World, Part I should ultimately remain the modern benchmark with the total gross equivalent of around $82 million adjusted for ticket price inflation. Year One‘s audience composition was 57 percent male and 47 percent under 21 years old, according to distributor Sony Pictures.
While Year One got stoned, The Hangover didn’t sober up. The ribald comedy had a sensational third weekend, grossing an estimated $26.9 million in second place and lifting its total to $152.9 million in 17 days. It was down only 18 percent from last weekend, which was a smaller decline with a bigger gross thanÂ Wedding Crashers at the same point.
Up let out 31 percent more air, coming in at an estimated $21.3 million (54 percent of which from 3D presentations). With a stellar $224.1 million in 24 days, it surpassed the final tally of WALL-E. In its second weekend, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 relinquished 52 percent of its already ho-hum debut, pulling in an estimated $11.3 million. The drop was steeper than lead actor Denzel Washington’s previous thrillers.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian held well, off 24 percent to an estimated $7.3 million for $156 million in 31 days, but Start Trek saw the lowest decline of all nationwide releases. The sci-fi adventure dipped 14 percent to an estimated $4.7 million, and its total climbed to $239.4 million in 45 days. Both pictures continued their IMAX runs, though Trek has rejuvenated somewhat since being relegated to mostly late night shows to make room for the Night at the Museum sequel: IMAX accounted for an estimated $840,000 of Night‘s weekend versus an estimated $390,000 of Trek‘s. Both will take an IMAX hit with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on Wednesday.
Photo Credit: boxofficemojo.com