Box Office Guru Wrapup: Marley Still #1 and Races Past $100M
Top 10 stays virtually the same for second week.
Moviegoers caught up on those holiday films they didn't see over Christmas
weekend as the top seven films finished in the exact same slots as last weekend
with the dog drama Marley & Me
leading the pack once again and smashing through the $100M mark too. Most
holdovers in the top ten saw drops of 20-35% as Friday's semi-holiday gave
ticket buyers some extra time off. Plus with no new films entering wide release
attention remained on the assortment of star-driven films already in the
multiplexes. Despite 2008 seeing a 4% decline in admissions, 2009 got off to a
solid start at the North American box office with the gross for the Top 20
climbing 8% above last year's tally which more than makes up for higher ticket
Audiences lined up for Fox's hit family drama Marley & Me spending an estimated $24.1M on the world's worst dog in its second weekend of release. Down 34%, the Owen Wilson-Jennifer Aniston pic boosted its 11-day total to a robust $106.5M and is now on course to become the twelfth release of 2008 to surpass the $150M mark. 2007 had 13 films break that barrier. At its current pace, Marley may finish its run with about $160M which would allow it to surpass the $154.5M of Horton Hears a Who to rank as Fox's number one film released last year.
Adam Sandler positioned himself in second place again with his family comedy Bedtime Stories which grossed an estimated $20.3M. Down 26% from its opening, the PG-rated film has collected a sturdy $85.4M in 11 days and looks headed for the neighborhood of $130M for Disney.
Paramount's Brad Pitt saga The Curious Case of Benjamin Button held steady in third place dropping 32% to an estimated $18.4M in its second weekend. The decline was more like what a regular commercial film should see during this type of frame and not what a buzzworthy awards contender should post. Still, the not-so-easy-to-sell drama has banked an impressive $79M in only 11 days and should have no problem hitting the $130M mark. If it can score a Best Picture nomination for the Oscars, then the cume will soar much higher and allow Pitt to challenge ex-wife Aniston for bragging rights to the Christmas season's top-grossing hit.
Tom Cruise's war thriller Valkyrie held up reasonably well in its second attack grossing an estimated $14M, down 33%. The MGM release has now taken in $60.7M in its first 11 days which is more than what most in the industry thought a month ago it would gross in its entire run. The assassination flick could reach $90M by the time it leaves domestic theaters.
Jim Carrey's popular comedy Yes Man dipped only 17% to an estimated $13.9M giving Warner Bros. $79.4M to date. Look for a $100-110M final. Fellow superstar Will Smith followed with Seven Pounds which grabbed an estimated $10M, off 24%, bringing the cume to $60M. Sony should end its run in the vicinity of $80M.
The Tale of Despereaux, the top ten's only animated film, dropped 21% to an estimated $7M for Universal which should find its way to $55-60M. Easing only 6% was the Meryl Streep pic Doubt with an estimated $5M boosting the total to $18.7M still early in its run for Miramax.
Suffering the largest drop in the top ten was Fox's sci-fi remake The Day the Earth Stood Still with an estimated $4.9M, down 37%, for a $74.3M sum. The Keanu Reeves flick may finish off with $80M. Fox Searchlight's award-winning Slumdog Millionaire jumped back into the top ten with an estimated $4.8M which lifted the total to $28.8M. Among films in the top ten, the Danny Boyle film posted the strongest average with $7,794 from 612 sites and was the only title to not suffer a sales drop. It climbed 11% from last weekend despite no increase in theaters.
Two November hits catering to younger audiences hovered just outside the top ten with scant declines this weekend. The high school vampire drama Twilight dipped only 5% to an estimated $4.5M to boost Summit's cume to a remarkable $176.8M. On Monday, the teen love story will surpass the $176.9M of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa to become the seventh biggest blockbuster of 2008 and it will become the highest-grossing hit since The Dark Knight. Disney's 3D toon Bolt slipped just 3% to an estimated $3.3M and raised its tally to $109.9M.
Four notable films in limited release generated averages of more than $20,000 each showing great strength in a crowded market. Paramount Vantage launched its World War II pic Defiance in just two theaters on Wednesday and grossed an estimated $121,000 over three days for a scorching $60,500 average. The five-day sum is $198,000 and the distributor will expand the Daniel Craig pic nationally on January 16.
Clint Eastwood continued to pull in packed crowds for Gran Torino which did amazingly well in its fourth weekend grossing an estimated $2.8M from just 84 locations for a potent $33,571 average. Warner Bros. has been rolling the film out in a pattern similar to that of the 78-year-old star's Million Dollar Baby from four years ago. In its fourth weekend, that film grossed $1.9M from 109 theaters for a powerful $17,619 average during the January 7-9 frame. The studio waited until the final weekend of January to go nationwide so it could follow the announcement of Oscar nominations. Baby ended up beating early frontrunner The Aviator at the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Torino will go wide earlier, though, and will expand to over 2,600 theaters this Friday, January 9.
Aviator star Leonardo DiCaprio enjoyed a solid expansion for his latest, Revolutionary Road co-starring Kate Winslet. The Sam Mendes-directed film went from three to 38 sites and grossed an estimated $979,000 for a $25,763 average for Vantage. Averaging a similar $24,000 was Searchlight's The Wrestler with an estimated $432,000 from only 18 houses. Totals stand at $1.4M and $1.8M with much more to come for each.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $122.3M which was up 9% from last year when National Treasure: Book of Secrets stayed in the top spot for a third time with $20.1M; and up a remarkable 28% from 2006 when Night at the Museum remained at number one for a third weekend with $23.7M.