Conventional wisdom puts Sandra Bullock as one of the only female movie stars who is a legitimate box office draw. Until Friday, however, this conventional wisdom was kind of hard to prove. Though Bullock’s films, especially those that fall in the romantic comedy category, have performed well in the long run, a surprising number of those films never got out of the $15 million dollar range on their opening weekends. New entry “The Proposal” handily bucked that trend with a three day total of $34 million off of 3,056 runs. The Disney release co-starring Ryan Reynolds (who, incidentally, already has a much-better opening under his belt thanks to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) easily beat back competition from the week’s other comedies, including Sony’s “Year One” and holdover hit “The Hangover”, to claim preeminence at the weekend box-office.
|5||Taking of Pelham 1 2 3||$11,300,000||$43,332,000|
|6||Night at the Museum 2||$7,300,000||$155,953,000|
|8||Land of the Lost||$3,976,000||$43,672,000|
As I mentioned yesterday, the fact that “The Proposal” opened so well came as a bit of a surprise. As of Thursday, it looked as though “The Hangover” would become a three-peater in the top spot – the first film to do so since last August’s “Tropic Thunder”. Instead, “The Proposal” flew out ahead, on the wings of a young, predominantly female audience that had been starved for quality product (because “My Life in Ruins” doesn’t count and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” was weeks ago. With a budget of only $40 million, “The Proposal” could be another big winner for Buena Vista (check out that grand total for “Up”), especially if the comedy finds legs against next week’s male-centric blockbuster, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”.
With “The Proposal” the clear winner of the weekend, the question of who would come in second remained a mystery. As of Friday it was still too close to call between “The Hangover” and new entry “Year One”, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera. Both comedies brought in about $8.5 million on Friday – but what a difference a day (and some really bad word of mouth) makes! By Sunday, “The Hangover” rebounded with another weekend above $25 million. Meanwhile, not only did “Year One” fall short of number two, it also failed to place third – coming in fourth behind Pixar’s “Up”, now the second film of 2009 to break the $200 million marlk.
“Year One” is now the second high-concept comedy to fall short in the past month. Though, with a budget of $60 million, “Year One” won’t be as big a disappointment as Universal’s $100 million dollar “Land of the Lost”. In more-positive comedy news, “The Hangover” continued its remarkable rise this weekend, falling only 18% over last week while adding another 190 theatres to its run. Compare that percentage performance to “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”, which fell over 51% in its second week. The action-thriller now seems fated to join the ranks of other middling Denzel Washington/Tony Scott efforts like “Deja Vu”, which earned about $64 million domestically by the time it exited theatres.
This was the last weekend for awhile where it will be anyone’s race to number one. Unless a Tsunami hits 60% of the planet (and is that very likely?) we are going to be swimming in a sea of giant f%*cking robots for the next few weeks. Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” opened in Japan and the UK this weekend – with the big domestic show set to begin on Wednesday. The first “Transformers” entry brought in over $150 million in its first week and, with the exponential law of sequels now in effect, a same-day total of over $170 million is likely. We’ll be covering the box-office march of the bots all week, of course, so stay tuned…