The comedy train continues rolling along this weekend with two new laughers in theaters. Laughers might also refer to the box office potential of both, as neither is going to be a significant factor come the end of the summer. On the other hand, with the uncharacteristically weak June box office, we're as good as guaranteed a third straight weekend with a comedy in the top spot.
Weekend Forecast for June 19-21, 2009
By Reagen Sulewski
June 19, 2009
One of the few romantic comedies in the early part of the summer, The Proposal is possibly the best of a mediocre lot this weekend. It stars Sandra Bullock as a business executive about to be deported to Canada after her visa runs out, and decides to enter into a sham marriage with her assistant, played by Ryan Reynolds – well decides, forces, it's all in the perspective.
The two "lovebirds" return to his family's home in Alaska to put on a good show and to tie the knot, with standard romantic hijinks ensuing. While some of the individual gags look relatively sharp, the appeal of any given romantic comedy is going to depend mostly on its stars. In this case, it's a pretty strong pairing. Although she hasn't really been in one for about four years, it still feels like Bullock could knock one of these films out of the park, and Reynolds' knowing snark feeling right at home. As he's on the way up, he probably carries the film just a little more than Bullock, but that's really neither here nor there. It's pretty generic stuff, but chemistry and charisma goes a long ways. Opening in just over 3,000 venues, The Proposal should open with about $22 million.
Few films have inspired such rancour around the BOP complex as Year One. Deep splits occurred among our normally harmonious (if idiosyncratic) group about the merits of the jokes on display in this Dumb and Dumber style comedy set in Biblical times. Personally, I think the divide occurs based on the crucial first exposure to the property – those who saw the (disastrous) Super Bowl ad first are never going to come around to it, while those that saw anything else from it ended up more positive. Either you think those that like it are cretins, or you think those that hate it are reactionary jerks. Consider it an object lesson in putting your best foot forward.
Jack Black and Michael Cera star as cavemen expelled from their tribe, who end up mixed up with several famous and not-so-famous characters from history. Black, who lives and dies on his manic comic energy, and Cera, who works more off neuroses and nervous energy, don't seem like the most natural pairing, although they appear to be in two different movies anyway.
Directed by Harold Ramis and also starring a small army of comic and character actors, including David Cross, Paul Rudd, Hank Azaria, Olivia Wilde, Chris Mintz-Plasse and Oliver Platt. It's hoping to somehow evoke the best of films like Life of Brian and History of the World, Part 1, which it's definitely falling short of. As a bronze age stoner comedy, though, it may find a small but fervent audience. Hey, if Nacho Libre can make $80 million... Anyway, look for about $17 million this weekend for Year One.
At this point it's not impossible, and in fact, is even likely for The Hangover to spend a third weekend in first place at the box office. The Todd Phillips-directed comedy is gaining some serious momentum, and dropped just 27% last weekend. It's definitely at the point where it's being recommended by and to everyone, which often leads those that were on the fence to just check it out to see what all the fuss is about. A $23 million weekend seems in store here, which would push it very close to the $150 million mark after just three weeks, an astounding sum for a film with no real stars.
This performance is somehow overshadowing that of Up, which could turn out to be Pixar's second-highest grossing film ever. It'll get to $200 million before the weekend, and by all rights should bring in another $20 million in the next three days. In a summer that looked like it might not get a $300 million film, Up is turning out to have a great chance of getting there.
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is the main action offering out there right now, but didn't really inspire stampedes to the theatre. Its $23 million opening weekend is about par for the course for director Tony Scott and Denzel Washington, but I think we've seen about all she wrote for this one. Flat reviews and a low urgency in premise tells me that it'll fall to about $12 million this weekend.
For the rest of the box office, we're left with Night at the Museum 2, which is still holding decently, and could hit $175 million, Land of the Lost, which is freefalling and is lucky it has Semi-Pro to compare itself to for Will Ferrell films, Star Trek, now more and more looking like a $250 million film, and Imagine That, which could mark a low point in Eddie Murphy's career, which is saying something for a guy with The Adventures of Pluto Nash on his CV. All should end up under $5 million. Only one more week until the return of summer box office, people. I promise.