Overall business came in at $153 million, which was higher than the first weekends of the last four years. However, those weekends had greater distance from the holidays and, therefore, weren't apples-to-apples comparisons. The last times this weekend landed on Jan. 2-4, in 2004 and 1998, attendance was significantly better.
Marley and Me, Bedtime Stories, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Valkyrie continued to post solid-to-strong numbers for the types of movies they are, but their percentage drops were on the steep side for a New Year's weekend, especially compared to 2004 and 1998.
Down 33 percent, Marley and Me pulled in $24.3 million on approximately 4,500 screens at 3,505 theaters for a best-in-show $106.7 million in 11 days. The comedy ranks as the third-highest grossing dog movie on record, and its attendance level is around seven percent ahead of Cheaper by the Dozen through the same point, among past Christmas family movies.
Bedtime Stories spun $20.5 million on around 4,900 screens at 3,684 sites. Off 25 percent, the Adam Sandler family fantasy has grossed $85.5 million in 11 days, trailing the comparable Night at the Museum by a wide margin and slightly behind Click as well.
Falling 30 percent, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button drew $18.7 million on 4,100 screens at 2,988 locations. With $79.3 million in 11 days, the fantastical drama has sold more tickets than Big Fish and Meet Joe Black did in their entire runs.
Valkyrie claimed $14.1 million on 2,900 screens at 2,778 venues, off 33 percent. Packing $60.7 million in 11 days, the World War II thriller has already out-gunned the full campaigns of The Good Shepherd, Munich and Enemy at the Gates among other similar movies.
Yes Man held well in its third weekend, down 16 percent to $13.9 million. The Jim Carrey comedy has made $79.5 million in 17 days, which is close to Fun with Dick and Jane at the same day number. Seven Pounds continued to be relatively listless albeit on the high end for its genre, dipping 24 percent to $10.1 million for $60.1 million in 17 days. The Tale of Despereaux didn't perk up either, shrinking 22 percent to $6.9 million for $43.7 million in 17 days.
Among nationwide releases, Slumdog Millionaire was the only one to rise, up nine percent to $4.7 million. In its eighth weekend, the drama has garnered $28.7 million. Also holding firmly were Doubt, Bolt and, remarkably, Twilight, which eased two percent to $4.6 million. With $176.9 million in 45 days, the vampire romance will surpass Interview with the Vampire when adjusted for ticket price inflation. The Spirit, on the other hand, collapsed in its second weekend. After a soft debut, the comic book movie tumbled 50 percent to $3.3 million for $17.7 million in 11 days.
Meanwhile, Gran Torino showed grit, surging 26 percent to $2.9 million at 84 locations. The Clint Eastwood action drama has grossed $9.8 million through its fourth weekend and is scheduled to expand nationwide to around 2,600 theaters on Jan. 9. It was also the highlight among the plethora of high profile limited releases, boasting a higher per theater average than nearly all movies playing at fewer theaters, including Revolutionary Road and The Wrestler. Only new entry Defiance topped it with over $60,000 per site, but that was at two theaters and hence insignificant.
• 'Marley' Retrieves Box Office Luster Over Christmas
• Holdovers Not as Merry as 'Marley'
This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2008 - 'Treasure,' 'Juno' Jumpin' in New Year
• 2007 - 'Night at the Museum,' 'Pursuit' Three-peat
• 2006 - 'Hostel' Lodged Into Top Spot
• 2005 - 'White Noise' Resonates in Debut
• Weekend Box Office Results