‘Proposal,’ ‘Year One’ enter box office

Comedies hit U.S. as 'Transformers' bows abroad

Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” begins its worldwide march today with debuts in the U.K. and Japan, nearly a week before the pic’s domestic debut on June 24.

With no fresh tentpole in the marketplace, Par decided to get a jump in those two territories, where the first “Transformers” did boffo biz.

Domestically, two wide releases make their debut over Father’s Day weekend: Disney’s Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy “The Proposal” and Sony’s male-skewing Jack Black-Michael Cera laffer “Year One.”

“Proposal” — Bullock’s first romantic comedy since “Miss Congeniality 2” in 2005 — opens in 3,056 runs. Female-skewing pic also opens day and date in 10 international markets, including Australia, Belgium, Mexico and Poland.

Harold Ramis’ “Year One,” which has picked up in tracking, opens in 3,022 runs domestically. Internationally, film opens in Australia, the U.K. and Mexico.

Debuting at the specialty B.O. this weekend is Woody Allen’s Larry David starrer “Whatever Works.” Sony Pictures Classics opens the film, also starring Evan Rachel Wood and Patricia Clarkson, in eight runs in New York and Los Angeles.

The race for No. 1 could end up a three-way contest between “Proposal,” “Year One” and Warner Bros. sleeper hit “The Hangover.” Some predict that the trio of comedies could end up clustered in the $17 million-$25 million range.

“Hangover,” from Todd Phillips, dropped just 27% last weekend, its second frame, winning with $32.8 million from 3,355 runs. Domestic cume was $120.9 million through Wednesday.

Disney-Pixar’s 3-D toon “Up” also continues to show plenty of lift, and was expected to cross the $200 million mark before the weekend. Pic’s domestic cume through Wednesday was $198.8 million.

On Sunday, 20th Century Fox will hold Father’s Day sneaks of 3-D toon “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” in 330 theaters across the country. Film, which opens July 1, will play exclusively in 3-D.

Sneak previews of “Proposal” last weekend succeeded in boosting buzz. Film revolves around a business exec who pretends she’s marrying her assistant in order to remain in the U.S.

Bullock’s more successful films have tended to open modestly but have strong legs. “Two Weeks Notice” debuted to $14.3 million in 2002 and cumed $93.3 million.

Domestically, “Proposal” should benefit from being the first female-skewing comedy since “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” which debuted to $15.4 million in early May.

“Year One’s” standing could depend upon how many females it lures. One big advantage: The comedy is rated PG-13, making it easier for tweens and teens to see the pic.

Produced by Judd Apatow’s Apatow Prods., “Year One” revolves around two lazy hunter-gatherers who are exiled from their village and find themselves journeying through biblical lands. Ramis penned the script with Clayton Townsend.

Weekend is the last lull before the next batch of tentpoles unfurl, beginning with “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which reteams director Michael Bay with thesps Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox.

Paramount said the studio decided to go early in the U.K. and Japan because of upcoming competition and the current break in the action.

Overall, Sony’s “Terminator: Salvation” should again place No. 1 at the international box office, followed by 20th Century Fox’s “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”

Besides Allen’s pic, other indie openers at the domestic B.O. include South Korean dramedy “Daytime Drinking,” Norwegian suspenser “Dead Snow,” British crime-drama “Brighton Rock” and docu “Under Our Skin.”

Focus Features’ “Away We Go” makes a sizable expansion in its third sesh, playing in a total of 132 runs in select markets. Directed by Sam Mendes, the film is expected to jump the $1 million mark over the weekend.