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Decent Proposal

June 18th, 2009

We have another two new saturation level releases and two holdovers that will play an important part in this week's box office race, again. It appears that only one of the new films has a legitimate shot at top spot, while we could have our first threpeat in nearly a year. Overall, the box office looks like it will continue its losing streak vs. 2009, as this time last year was marginally stronger. Hopefully that will change next week.

The Proposal is the latest romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, who has made of career out of these films. However, it's been a while since she made her last such film. In that movie, she was the put-upon assistant to an overly demanding boss. This time around she plays the demanding boss who is about to be deported back to Canada, so she forces her assistant, Ryan Reynolds, to marry her so she can earn her citizenship, and he can keep his job. Hearing that set up, fans of the genre can probably guess what will happen in the end. In fact, many could probably predict details and certain scenes that simply have to happen. So it comes as no surprise that the biggest complaint from critics is the film's predictability. However, as long as the two leads have chemistry, and it appears that they do, then complaints of predictability will not have an effect at the box office. That said, romantic comedies are rarely blockbusters, and opening with more than $30 million might be out of the question here. At the low end, it could fail to hit first place and open with $23 million, or so. I'm going with $26 million, which is better than original expectations, and should be more than enough to make the studio happy.

After a record-breaking sophomore stint where The Hangover not only reached $100 million faster than any other R-rated comedy, but it also had the smallest drop-off for a saturation level release during its sophomore stint. Normally a film doesn't drop off as much during its third weekend of release as it did during its second; however, that seems nearly impossible at this point. If The Hangover does slip just 25%, it would earn $24 million over the weekend, putting it within striking distance of first place. I'm going with a more conservative prediction of $22 million over the weekend, which would give it $147 million after three and keep it on pace for $200 million. There will be a sequel, obviously. And I would expect the three leads have a lot more scripts coming their way than they did just a month ago.

Up continues its box office charge and will likely have reached $200 million in total by the time you read this, even if the official numbers don't come out until later today. This would make it the eighth film in a row by Pixar to reach that milestone. It will also leave it just a few million away from topping Ratatouille, and it will get there by late Friday, or early Saturday at the latest. And after earning $20 million over the weekend, it will be a day or two away from overtaking WALL-E's box office total. In fact, the only Pixar film that seems out of reach at the domestic box office is Finding Nemo. Given the studio's track record, they could announce their next film is about a lump of dirt, and I would assume that it would be a.) Oscar worthy and b.) a $200 million hit. They really can do no wrong.

The second saturation level release of the week is Year One, which I assumed at the beginning of the month would be the bigger hit of the two wide releases. However, that's before I read the reviews. For the massive amount of talent involved in this movie, the final product is far from effective. I wasn't expected Oscar-worthy, but I was expecting closer to 50% positive. Given the comedic talent involved in this movie, it could surprise and open in first place with $30 million, but fourth place and $20 million is more likely.

Taking of Pelman 1 2 3 disappointed during its opening, and now it will have to work hard to avoid a serious drop-off during its sophomore stint. On the one hand, there's no direct competition from the two wide releases. On the other hand, its reviews remain soft at just 50% positive. Granted, that's better than a lot of wide releases earn, but not enough to assume the word-of-mouth will be strong enough to keep moviegoers coming back. Look for roughly $12 million over the weekend, with topping that figure being slightly more likely than not.

Also of note is Ice Age 3 - Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which has a sneak peak on Sunday in just over 300 theaters. Check your local listings for more details. The film then debuts on July 1st, just in time for the Independence Day long weekend.


Filed under: Up, The Hangover, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, The Proposal, The Taking of Pelham 123, Year One