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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Audiences still crave 'Marley & Me' in the New Year, Jan. 2-4, 2009


With no new releases ushering in the new year, the top seven film remained identical to their finish last weekend, once again led by the hit Fox dramedy Marley & Me with $24.1 million, followed by Disney's Bedtime Stories with $20.3 million. The entire top ten showed healthy week-over-week strength, with all but one film falling by less than 34%. Thanks to the strong holds the first weekend of 2009 was 9% ahead of the first weekend of 2008, and 28% higher than the comparable weekend of 2007.

Leading the pack for the second straight weekend was Fox's feel-good dramedy Marley & Me, which slipped just 34% to $24.1 million. In just eleven days, the Jennifer Aniston-Owen Wilson starrer has grossed an impressive $106.5 million. At its current pace look for the tear-jerker to easily surpass $150 million domestic in becoming the studio's top grosser of 2008.

Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories showed excellent word of mouth in its sophomore frame, down just 26% to $20.3 million in second. Budgeted at $80 million, the PG-rated comedy adventure has amassed $85.4 million and should finish with $125 million domestic for the Mouse House.

Paramount's acclaimed drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button dropped just 32% to an estimated $18.4 million, bringing its total to $79 million. The $150 million budgeted film should see a boost in sales if it can nab some high profile film awards, but will most likely fall well short of its massive budget in North America.

Tom Cruise's WWII thriller Valkyrie slipped just 33%, taking in $14 million this weekend. The MGM/UA release has now grossed $60.7 million in 11 days. Budgeted at $75, the film will most likely fall just short of $100 million domestic.

Rounding out the top five thanks to a hefty marketing blitz was Warner's comedy Yes Man, which slipped just 17% to $13.9 million. The Jim Carrey starrer has grossed $79.4 million in three weeks. At its current pace, look for the $70 million budgeted release to break $100 million domestic.

Among limited release Oscar front-runners, Fox Searchlight's Slumdog Millionaire and Warner's Gran Torino showed the biggest jumps, spiking 11% and 21% respectively. Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire took in $4.8 million, bringing its total to a fantastic $28.8 million. Clint Eastwood's drama Gran Torino saw a 21% jump in sales in 84 theaters to $2.8 million (and a whopping $33,571 per theater average), bringing its four week cume to an impressive $9.7 million.

With virtually the entire top ten exhibiting strong legs, the weekend finished up 9% from last year's comparable frame when National Treasure: Book of Secrets held on to the top spot with $20.1 million. It was up an even more impressive 28% from 2006 when Night at the Museum took in $23.7 million in its third week.

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