It’s not that often that I both side with the masses and against the majority of critics (a slim majority, in this case), so it feels foreign for me, on a Monday morning, not to be bellyaching when a romantic comedy takes the number one spot at the box office. As I mentioned the other day in the comments, I went and saw The Proposal a second time to ensure that my judgment had not been clouded by Ryan Reynolds’ perfect abs. It hadn’t. It’s a sweet movie, something of a crowd pleaser that’s slightly smarter than it is dumb. Granted, I felt pretty stupid on Saturday night, after all the malarkey I wrote about how hard it is to write a great romantic comedy within the confines of the studio mandated formulas, when I re-visited Forgetting Sarah Marshall. That’s how great studio romantic comedies are done, but it didn’t diminish my fondness for The Proposal.
And on that subject, The Proposal racked up a surprising $34 million over the weekend (I’d privately predicted $32 million after seeing it), well ahead of analysts expectations. The word of mouth after last week’s sneaks must have helped. To date, that’s actually Sandra Bullock’s biggest opener, nearly doubling her previous high of $17 million for a movie I’d forgotten even existed: Premonition. And if you look past Wolverine, in which Reynolds had only seven minutes of screen time, this is his biggest opening, too, surpassing The Amityville Horror’s $23 million opening. I’m honestly just happy that Reynolds has finally, finally broken out — I’ve been talking the guy up (in various ways) since 2004’s Blade Trinity, and now that he’s crossed over onto the A-(ish) List, maybe I can turn on the guy in the next few years. At this point, the only thing in the works for Reynolds is the Deadpool movie — let’s hope he doesn’t fuck it up.
And now I can officially turn the man crush over to Joseph Gordon Levitt.
The Hangover clung to the number two spot over the weekend, putting up another $26 million to cross the $150 million mark. It’s now the fourth highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time, passing Knocked Up, and has a decent shot of eventually surpassing The Wedding Crashers’ $209 million to take the top spot on that list. It may not technically be a sleeper hit, but it sure as hell is a surprising one. What’s even more satisfying is that this is a huge hit that’s not targeted at tweens. There’s still hope for adult-oriented films, after all. At least comedies.
Up also held strong, adding another $21 million. It’s now grossed $224 million, just $15 million behind the year’s biggest hit, Star Trek. Meanwhile, Year One made $20 million over the weekend, and though that was within analysts expectations, the fourth place finish was not. I second Dan’s review, and applaud his ability to sit through it — I made it half an hour before bailing, just long enough to see David Cross and Paul Rudd embarrass themselves. Bloody fuck, that was awful.
There were two debuts in limited release: Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, starring Larry David, did pretty well, putting up $32,000 per screen (on 9 screens). We’ll have a review of that up this week. Dead Snow, the Nazi Zombie movie, opened on only one screen, and put up a pretty shameful $6,000. I guess there just wasn’t that much interest in Nazi Zombies. Strange. Away We Go, in its second week, put up nearly $2 million on only 132 screens — it looks good for wider expansion next week. If it doesn’t make it to my town next week, I’m going to cut someone.
Here’s your top five:
1. The Proposal ($34 million)
2. The Hangover ($26 million, $152 million)
3. Up ($21 million, $224 million)
4. Year One ($20 million)
5. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 ($11 million, $43 million)