If the box office this weekend is any indication of what 2009 will be like, maybe there is a reason for some optimism. Thanks to Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt, and even Tom Cruise, the movie theater was a big draw in the first days of the new year. The top five films were the same as last weekend, and they each dropped less than 35% — an impressive feat at any time of year. And overall the box office was robust, up an estimated 7% compared to New Year’s weekend in 2008. It certainly helped that there was a movie for everyone at the box office: family (Marley & Me), drama (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), suspense (Valkyrie) and even a kid flick (Bedtime Stories).
Marley won the No. 1 slot. Adding $24.1 million to its
coffers put the pooch just where Fox wanted him, in the coveted $100
million club. The movie’s total take stands at $106.5 million and with
little competition in the weeks to come, it will probably keep on
climbing. Bedtime Stories is also holding strong. The Adam
Sandler-starrer dropped a scant 26% its second weekend to $20.3
million, putting its total gross at $85 million. The critics hated it,
but moviegoers sure are fans. And lucky for Paramount, the David
Fincher-directed drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
seems to be holding moviegoers’ attention. Losing only 31% of its
opening weekend gross, the lengthy — and expensive — epic is nearing
the $80 million mark after two weeks in release. The WWII epic Valkyrie,
which was widely lampooned before anyone had seen a frame of the film,
has actually turned into a successful movie for the revamped MGM.
Grossing an additional $14 million, the Bryan Singer-directed thriller
has now earned $60.7 million in two weeks. Rounding out the top five is
Jim Carrey’s comedy Yes Man; an additional $13.9 million brings the Warner Bros. film’s earnings to $79.4 million.
Among the Oscar bait hitting theaters, Miramax’s Doubt and Fox Searchlight’s Slumdog Millionaire both hit the top ten. The Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman-starrer Doubt,
in over 1,200 theaters for the second week in a row, grossed $5 million
to put its total cume at $18 million. And the Danny Boyle-directed Slumdog
is doing gangbusters at the theater. In its 8th week, the
Bollywood-infused drama earned $4.7 million to put its cume at $28.7
million. Not bad for a movie that back in September had no studio to
call home. The Kate Winslet-Leonardo DiCaprio reunion Revolutionary Road,
which added 30 theaters in its second week of release, is doing
terrific limited business. Its per-screen average is $25,000, with a
cume of $1.3 million. Meanwhile, Paramount’s Defiance got off
to a strong start. The WWII film starring Daniel Craig and Liev
Schreiber grossed $121,000 on only two screens. It’s a good thing Defiance
and other well-pedigreed films will expand in the weeks to come,
offering moviegoers something more than the usual January dreck.
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