January 6, 2009

Box Office Update 1/2-1/4: Marley & Me Stays on Top to Open 2009 Campaign

2009 got off to a pretty good start this past weekend with a chart that almost perfectly mirrors the lineup that closed out 2008. No new films entered wide release so there was little competition. What I find surprising is how strong all of the returning films did. Across the board the films did very well compared to last week. Even the one film that did fall out of the top ten dipped less than 50% (I was expecting more). Will this be a sign of things to come? I am sure that the studios are hoping it is.

The top two spots are dominated by family fare, which has to be expected. Having just passed what may be the biggest family holiday of the year, what is one of the things that a family can do as a familial unit that does not require them to actually talk to each other? Go to the movies, of course! I am joking a bit there, the holidays are all about family and if you are blessed with a good one, there is always something to talk about, especially if you have not all been together for awhile.

Topping the list is, for the second straight week, the family film about the world's worst dog, Marley & Me. This is a movie that is as much a crowd pleaser as it is a relentless tearjerker. The movie is definitely an interesting one, funny, sad, poignant, all at the same time. The film is based on the book by John Grogan who based the book on his real life experiences with his dog, Marley. I just have to wonder how he did it, if the real Marley was anywhere near as destructive as the filmed dog, I don't think I would have been able to deal. Now, with its box office success, will they try to figure a way to finagle a sequel?

Coming in not too far behind is the new Adam Sandler outing, Bedtime Stories, a film that is very reminiscent of his 1995 break out Billy Madison. It is not a strong narrative movie, but it has a good heart, will put a smile on your face and leave you satisfied. Don't expect to discover the reason why the things that happen, well, happen, just go along for the ride.

In addition to the family fare, the chart has a few scattered Oscar hopefuls. David Fincher's epic The Curious Case of Benjamin Button leads them with its third place finish. It is a poetic and moving film that looks to be well on its way to becoming the biggest hit of Fincher's career, besting 1995's Seven and it's $100 million take.

Also on the Oscar front are the two films at the far end of the chart. In ninth place is the play turned film Doubt, featuring some of the best acting your likely to see and an ending that will leave you with, well, doubt. Right behind it in the anchor position is a film making its return to the top ten: Slumdog Millionaire. Here is a film that brings back some of that magical joy that seems to be missing from so many so-called "important" films.

Next week will see the first releases of 2009 reach their fingers across the nation. Those new films are the comedy Bride Wars and the horror film The Unborn. Joining those two films will be a pair of 2008 films expanding into more theaters, Gran Torino and The Reader.

One movie dropped off the top ten this week: The Spirit (13).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
11Marley & Me$24,263,763$106,664,0462
22Bedtime Stories$20,501,339$85,539,1682
33The Curious Case of Benjamin Button$18,691,248$79,297,0862
55Yes Man$13,910,477$79,507,3883
66Seven Pounds$10,068,518$60,147,2983
77The Tale of Despereaux$6,939,295$43,661,7753
88The Day the Earth Stood Still$5,049,698$74,424,2564
1013Slumdog Millionaire$4,690,769$28,676,5988


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