- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Movie audiences said “yes” to a proposal from Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, who scored the summer’s first big romantic comedy hit.

“The Proposal,” starring the two actors, took in $34.1 million to open as the weekend’s No. 1 movie, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Disney flick delivered the biggest opening ever for the Arlington-born Miss Bullock, nearly double that of her previous best of $17.6 million for the 2007 paranormal thriller “Premonition.”

Miss Bullock stars as a ruthless publishing executive who coerces her put-upon assistant (Mr. Reynolds) into a fake marriage so she can avoid deportation back to her native Canada.

“I think the market was ready for a really fun, broad romantic comedy,” said Mark Zoradi, president of Disney’s motion-picture group.

“The Proposal” took over the top spot from the Warner Bros. bachelor-party comedy “The Hangover,” which slipped to second place with $26.9 million. A surprise smash hit, “The Hangover” raised its total to $152.9 million.

Disney’s animated adventure “Up” was No. 3 with $21.3 million, lifting its total to $224.1 million and following Paramount’s “Star Trek” as the second movie of 2009 to cross the $200 million mark.

Debuting in the fourth spot with $20.2 million was Sony’s caveman comedy “Year One,” starring Jack Black and Michael Cera as Neanderthals on a road trip after they are banished from their village.

It was summer’s second big-name comedy set in prehistoric times to take a back seat to a wedding-themed romp. Will Ferrell’s “Land of the Lost” opened at No. 3 in early June, the same weekend “The Hangover” pulled off a No. 1 upset.

“June is officially comedy month at the theaters. Comedy is really ruling things,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.

Woody Allen’s latest comedy, “Whatever Works,” had a strong start in limited release, hauling in $280,720 in nine theaters for an average of $31,191 a cinema. That compares to an average of $11,163 in 3,056 theaters for “The Proposal” and $6,684 in 3,022 cinemas for “Year One.”

Released by Sony Pictures Classics, “Whatever Works” stars Larry David as a misanthropic New Yorker who forges unlikely relationships with a conservative Southern family (Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley Jr.).

While some of June’s comedies performed well, the month generally has been a downer for Hollywood, which tore through the first part of the year with a record box-office pace.

Revenues this weekend were up slightly compared to the same period a year ago, but that followed three straight weekends of declining box-office receipts.

For the year, revenue remains up a solid 10 percent, though summer ticket sales are dead even with last year’s, Mr. Dergarabedian said.

That should turn around this coming weekend with the debut of the blockbuster sequel “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which industry analysts say could deliver the year’s first $100 million opening.

Paramount’s “Transformers” sequel got off to a big start in Great Britain and Japan, where it opened this weekend in advance of its U.S. debut Wednesday, pulling in $14.1 million in Britain and $5.8 million in Japan.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com.

1. The Proposal, $34.1 million.
2. The Hangover, $26.9 million.
3. Up, $21.3 million.
4. Year One,, $20.2 million.
5. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, $11.3 million.
6. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, $7.3 million.
7. Star Trek, $4.7 million.
8. Land of the Lost, $4 million.
9. Imagine That, $3.1 million.
10. Terminator Salvation, $3.07 million.

Final figures will be released Monday.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide