Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Proposal opens with $33.6 million, Year One opens with $20 million. Hangover and Up still going strong. Weekend box office for 06/20/09.

Not much new to report here. The Proposal had a decent 2.65x multiplier, ending the weekend with $33.6 million. That makes this film the ninth-biggest romantic comedy opening of all time. This nearly doubles the previous opening weekend peak for Sandra Bullock, as her prior record holder, Premonition, opened to $17.5 million. Bullock has always been less of a sprinter and more of a marathon runner, so it'll be interesting to see how this fast out of the gate film holds up over the long haul. On the plus side, the word of mouth is solid and there is little competition until The Ugly Truth arrives on July 24th.

Just how much credit Ryan Reynolds deserves for this opening is certainly worth discussing, but for now I'll simply chalk it up to putting two popular stars in a winning concept. Reynolds certainly gains more than Bullock, since he has been quietly doing solid work in films as varied as The Amityville Horror, The Nine, and Definitely Maybe. I still think that the Deadpool spin off is a terrible idea (especially if it's expensive), and a waste of his talent, but an opening like this is just the thing to get it on the fast track. The ads highlighting a foul-mouthed Betty White didn't hurt either, although she's been doing that shtick since Lake Placid ten years prior.

In second place was The Hangover, which fell just 18% for a $26.7 million. This is starting to play like The Sixth Sense of R-rated comedies. I can only guess that the film is continuing to expand beyond the frat-boy core, a theory which will be tested when Transformers 2 steals each and every frat boy away next weekend. The film has already reached $152 million, and it should surpass the $175 million gross of There's Something About Mary by the end of next weekend. If it can weather the onslaught of Revenge of the Fallen, the R-rated comedy champ (Beverly Hills Cop at $234 million) is in serious peril. It's too early to predict whether or not the film will threaten Home Alone's $281 million for the all-time comedy crown, but it is definitely going to be the second-choice for moviegoers for the rest of the summer. Random question... how much is an R-rated phenomenon like this a boon to all the other non-R rated films in the marketplace? IE - how much of the grosses of the competition is just kids buying tickets to other stuff and sneaking into The Hangover?

Third place went to Pixar's Up, which lived up to its name as it powered up the all-time animated chart. Now at $226 million, it has surpassed Wall-E and Ratatouille and now sits at #10 on the top-grossing toons list. It's still dragging just a bit behind Finding Nemo (which had $228 million at this point), and it will lose many of its 3D screens when Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opens on July 1st, but this one is so far playing like a $300 million+ earner. I must say, if it does make it to $300 million, it'll be the quietest such earner in memory. No one I know is really talking all that much about it. The excellence of Pixar is so taken for granted that no one needs to go out of their way to rave about it. Fourth place goes to the new comedy Year One. Despite the prevalence of well-reviewed films succeeding (Star Trek) and poorly reviewed films tanking (Terminator: Salvation), it bares well to remember that critics usually don't have much of an impact on opening weekend. Hence the solid $19.6 million opening for the Jack Black and Michael Cera vehicle shouldn't be that much of a surprise. Yes, the reviews were putrid, but the core Jack Black fans and general fans of stupid comedy didn't care less. Nothing to see here folks.

In other news, The Taking of Pelham 123 dropped a poor 48.5%, meaning that the core older audience is either drawn to other fare (The Proposal, The Hangover, etc) or they already saw the original in 1974 and had no interest in this redo. Just a thought, maybe they should have just tinkered with the script just enough so that they could call it something else and sell it as an original Denzel Washington/John Travolta action vehicle. Star Trek is now at $240 million, while Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian has surpassed its $150 million budget. Globally, domestic underperformers Terminator Salvation and Angels & Demons are (as expected) making up for it overseas. T4 is approaching $300 million global sales while Da Vinci Code 2 is just below $450 million (still far and away the year's highest grossing film overall). Land of the Lost has out grossed Speed Racer, and Drag Me to Hell is just below $40 million.

That's all that's fit to print. I'll do periodic updates for the Wednesday debut of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (barring the variables of life, a review will arrive on Monday night or Tuesday morning). We'll know a lot more about the long term end points of several major titles (Up, The Hangover, etc) once we see how hard the robots hit and how the holdovers react. Cue the dramatic Hans Zimmer music... now.

Scott Mendelson

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