By Ryan Parsons | Image property of 20th Century Fox, Variety
Marley & Me
It's hard to compete with the marketability of a Labrador puppy. All Fox had to do for Marley & Me was create a poster (shown to the right) with a bundle of cuteness and, BAM, box office glory over the holidays.
Marley & Me Takes Box Office
It looks like everybody and their brother found their way to the theaters over the Christmas weekend with strong box office numbers to show for it. Marley & Me was the surprise pick with $51.8 million during its opening bow.
The Brad Pitt-Cate Blanchett starrer The Curious Case of Benjamin Button came in at number two with $39 million. A morbid story for the holidays, sure, but fantastically told.
Another surprise was Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories, which was able to grab all the leftover family moviegoers and remain at the number three spot with an estimated $38.6 million.
Though the buzz for Valkyrie has been all over the spectrum, the adult thriller was still able to pull in $30 million over the four-day weekend; giving it the number four spot.
Each of the top four films saw numbers beyond expectations. Who deserves the most credit? Surprisingly, the (bleak) economy and Christmas.
"I'm in awe of how phenomenal Christmas was," said Disney prexy of domestic distribution Chuck Viane. "How can you not be happy with these kind of numbers?"
The only film to not perform was the critically-bashed The Spirit, directed by Frank Miller. The film took the number nine spot during its opening four-day frame with $10.4 million. Not too bad, considering.
The last film that deserves mention is Jim Carrey's Yes Man, which dropped a miniscule 10% from the previous frame to earn another $22.4 million. The comedy's stamina allowed to it land in the top five over the weekend.
While Hollywood originally felt at risk for releasing so many films over the holiday weekend -- five alone on Christmas -- the gamble has most certainly paid off. "The fact that so many movies did so well was very encouraging to everyone in terms of the health of the theatrical market," said Paramount vice chair Rob Moore.
Thanks to the strong numbers, the holiday weekend was up more than 10% over the same frame last year; further keeping 2008 on pace with 2007's record-breaking box office take.