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Monday, June 22, 2009

'The Proposal' dominates weekend with $34.1m debut, June 19-21, 2009

Sandra Bullock posted the biggest opening of her career as her romantic comedy The Proposal dominated the box office at No. 1 with a whopping $34.1 million. Two week champ The Hangover continued its torrid pace with a slight 18% drop, while Pixar's Up edged out the other newcomer Year One for third place. Overall, the box office finished on par with last year's comparable frame, after three sluggish weeks behind the pace.

Finishing the weekend in the top spot for the first time in ten years (when Forces of Nature topped with $13.5m), Sandra Bullock made her long awaited return to the romantic comedy as The Proposal surged past industry expectations with an estimated $34.1 million. The opening nearly doubled her previous career best, the 2007 thriller Premonition.

Averaging a powerful $11,163 from 3,056 theaters, the Buena Vista release shrugged of mixed reviews, arriving just in time for female viewers in need of something other than horror, action and comedy. Budgeted at just $40 million, the Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds starrer was helped by a very strong marketing push, as well as sneak previews last weekend which helped get early word of mouth generated heading into Friday.

The debut for The Proposal was on par with 2002's hit romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama, which took in $35.6m in its debut on its way to $127.2m total, and 2006's The Break-Up, which bowed with $39.1 on its way to $118.7m domestic. With few direct competitors on the horizon, look for The Proposal to become just the fourth film in Sandra Bullock's career to break $100 million domestic.

Despite losing the top spot this weekend, Warner Bros.' blockbuster R-rated comedy The Hangover continued its staggering run at the box office, slipping just 18% to $26.9 million. That brings the $35 million budgeted pic to a 17-day $152.9 million cume. The Vegas-inspired comedy now looks on pace to not only surpass Wedding Crashers, which current stands as the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all-time at $209m, but become one of the top five highest grossing R-rated films in history.

Once again falling in line right behind The Hangover was Pixar's blockbuster family comedy Up, which slipped just 31% to $21.3 million this weekend, bringing its four week cume to an incredible $224.1 million. In just 24 days the Disney release has become the 6th highest grossing Pixar film in history, surpassing the entire domestic gross of last year's Oscar winning hit Wall-E with $223.8 million, as well as 2007's Oscar winner Ratatouille with $206.4 million.

Budgeted at a hefty $175 million, the acclaimed computer-animated comedy continues to follow the pace of Pixar's highest grossing film ever, Finding Nemo, which took in $21.1 million in its fourth weekend for a $228.5 million cume. Nemo would eventually finish its domestic run with $339.7 million, becoming the second highest grossing animated film in history.

With 60% of its business being coming from the more lucrative 3-D equipped theaters, the next few weeks could be much tougher with the arrival of Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which will eat up a significant portion of the 3-D screens when it opens July 1st. Regardless, Up looks certain to surpass The Incredibles's $261 million domestic haul, which would make it the second highest grossing film in Pixar's illustrious history.

Dismal reviews relegated Jack Black and Michael Cera's latest comedy Year One to fourth place, as the $60m budgeted PG-13 pic finished with $20.2 million in 3,022 theaters for a $6,684 average. The opening was on par with his 2003 comedy School of Rock, which opened with $19.6 million. However, don't expect Year One to exhibit the same kind of legs that helped Rock finish with $81.2 million domestic.

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