Benjamin Button, Marley and Me Score at Box Office Again

By Keith Williams

Marley a season winner

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RushPRNews / Hollywood Today) 1/5/09 — Pet adoptions soared across America as Marley and Me munched its way through an estimated $24 million this weekend for a total of $106 million after only two weeks, with Bedtime Stories nipping at its heels for $20.3 million and Benjamin Button still drawing the curious with $18.4 million.

Yet again the Jennifer Aniston/Owen Wilson starrer proved itself the alpha male of the box office pack, testimony to Fox’s uncanny ability to deliver mass family pulp for Christmas (step down from the witness box Alvin and the Chipmunks and Night at the Museum). After a pretty dismal year kicking off with the universally hated Alien vs Predator: Requiem and ending with, ahem, Australia, at least there’s some cheer on Pico to start this new year off with. For Adam Sandler too, Bedtime Stories has brought festive goodwill, even if the film sounds like the saner version of what Terry Gilliam would have done in the past. In its second week, the fantasy/comedy has now taken $85.3 million, so membership of the $100 million club will be soon welcoming readers as well as puppies.

Benjamin Button looks a likely candidate for future membership too with a total to date of $79 million, an astonishing figure given it was all but expected to be an arthouse rather than mainstream hit. After the box office disappointment of the exemplary Zodiac, David Fincher’s chances of Oscar nominations for his gentle fable must now be considered far less remote than before, with memories of the ill-fated Alien 3 finally laid to rest.

Yes Man continued to attract affirmatives from Jim Carrey fans, dropping 16.9% in its third week for $13.8 million, Valkyrie ziegheiled $14 million on a 36% decline, Seven Pounds, one of Will Smith’s more glummer efforts barely raised $10 million’s worth of smiles on a 24.3% fall-off, leaving Ratatouille’s big-eared cousin Despereaux watching his tale shrink by 21.4 % for a less-than-animated $7 million. Klaatu himself watched his efforts to save the earth stand further still with $4.8 million on a 37% decline, Doubt wavered by a mere 5.8% for $4.9 million, while Slumdog Millionaire poked its head into the top ten by phoning several friends for $4.5 million.

Of those on limited parole, most notable per-screen-average went to Daniel Craig’s new WW2 drama Defiance taking $60,500 in two forests for a total to date of $198,000.

Of those on mainstream release plunging faster than the temperature outside, Frank Miller’s visually ambitious but dramatically empty The Spirit dropped a graphic 49.4% en route to Bin City.

Weekend Estimates courtesy boxofficemojo.com