LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sandra Bullock achieved her first No. 1 movie in 10 years at the weekend box office as moviegoers across the United States and Canada said yes to "The Proposal," which also marked her biggest opening.
The Walt Disney Co romantic comedy sold an estimated $34.1 million worth of tickets during the three-day period beginning June 19, the company said on Sunday.
"It definitely met and exceeded our expectations," said Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group. "In a summer with a lot of sequels, it's always nice to have an original movie."
"The Proposal" also earned $10 million from 10 foreign markets, with No. 1 bows in Australia ($3.3 million) and Russia ($2.8 million) leading the way.
Bullock last went to No. 1 in North America with the 1999 film "Forces of Nature," which co-starred Ben Affleck. Her previous best opening was $17.6 million for her most recent film, "Premonition," in March 2007.
The 44-year-old actress stars as a book executive who fakes an engagement to her lowly assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to avoid deportation to her native Canada. The laughs ensue when she meets his parents, with "Golden Girls" veteran Betty White stealing the show. Anne Fletcher ("27 Dresses") directed. Disney declined to reveal the budget.
Critics' reviews were mixed, but exit surveys were strong, Disney said. Men accounted for 37 percent of the audience, a surprisingly large turnout for a romantic comedy.
Its reign likely will be short-lived, though, with "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" opening worldwide on Wednesday through Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures.
After two weekends at No. 1, "The Hangover" slipped to No. 2 with $26.9 million. The hit bachelor-party comedy now has banked $152.9 million, according to Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. Pictures.
The only other new release in the top 10 was the Jack Black prehistoric comedy "Year One," which came in at No. 4 with $20.2 million, in line with the expectations of its distributor, Sony Corp's Columbia Pictures.
The $60 million film, from "Groundhog Day" director Harold Ramis, stars Black and Michael Cera ("Juno") as hunter-gatherers banished from their primitive village.
Just ahead of it, at No. 3, was Disney's Pixar-produced cartoon "Up" with $21.3 million. It has earned $224.1 million after four weekends, surpassing the $223.8 million lifetime total of Pixar's 2008 Oscar-winning smash "WALL-E."
Zoradi said he expected "Up" to pass 2004's "The Incredibles" ($261 million) to become the second-biggest Pixar film after 2003's "Finding Nemo" ($340 million). Comparative data are not adjusted for inflation.
Rounding out the top five was Columbia's "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" with $11.3 million. Denzel Washington and John Travolta star in the hijacking thriller, which has earned $43.3 million after 10 days.
Director Woody Allen's 40th film, "Whatever Works," starring "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood, earned $281,000 from nine theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The best comparison is with his 2005 comeback, "Match Point," which opened to about $400,000 in eight theaters on its way to $23 million. "Whatever Works" was released by Sony art house unit Sony Pictures Classics.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Vicki Allen