EInsiders.com : : : Reviews | DVD | Inside Scoop | Box Office | Interviews | Columns | Obits | Contests

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eastwood posts career best as 'Gran Torino' tops box office with $29m, Jan. 9-11, 2009

Clint Eastwood posted the biggest wide release opening of his storied career at the ripe old age of 78, as his critically-acclaimed Gran Torino took the top spot with $29 million. Averaging a powerful $10,337 in 2,808 theaters (its first weekend in wide release), the drama easily bested two other very strong debuts this weekend, Bride Wars with $21.5 million in second and the horror entry The Unborn with $21 million in third. Thanks to those three powerful debuts, the box office took in a whopping $143 million in ticket sales, beating last year's comparable frame by a hefty 15%.

Thanks to a boost of 2724 theaters to its limited release slate, Warner's Gran Torino surprisingly took the box office by storm this weekend, giving actor-director Clint Eastwood the best opening of his career. The $29 million debut easily surpassed 2000's Space Cowboys, which opened with $18.1 million. 1993's In the Line of Fire is a distant third with its $15.2 million bow. In five weeks of release (four of which were under very limited release) the $33 million budgeted drama has grossed $40 million, and the film should have no trouble breaking $100 million domestic now that Awards season is in full swing. Eastwood's all-time box office leader is also 1993's In the Line of Fire with $102.3 million.

Anne Hathaway's and Kate Hudson's bridal comedy Bride Wars finished in second with a strong $21.5 million debut, averaging $6,665 in 3,226 theaters. Released by Fox, the $30 million budgeted pic shrugged off poor reviews with a well timed counter-programming marketing campaign in the midst of the NFL playoffs.

In a close third was Universal's horror-thriller The Unborn, which took in $21.1 million in its debut. Averaging a whopping $8,950 in 2,357 theaters, the film was buoyed by a heavy and effective marketing blitz in the last few weeks, warming up audiences for the upcoming Bloody Valentine 3D next weekend.

Fox's well-timed holiday dramedy Marley & Me finally relinquished its top spot with a 53% drop to $11.4 million, bringing its four week cume to a very impressive $123.7 million. The film has now become the second biggest grosser of star Jennifer Aniston's career, just ahead of 2006's The Break-Up with $118.7m, and behind 2003's Bruce Almighty with $242.8m.

Rounding out the top five was Brad Pitt's acclaimed The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which fell 49% to $9.5 million, bringing its cume to $94.3 million. Budgeted at $150 million, the Paramount release should finish with $120 million domestic.

Sony's drama Not Easily Broken performed well in limited release, breaking into the top ten with a $5.6 million debut. Averaging a strong $7,735 in just 724 theaters, the $5 million budgeted faith-based pic stars Morris Chestnut.

No comments: