‘Marley & Me’ Sits And Stays Atop Box Office

With no new releases over the weekend, 'Bedtime Stories,' 'Benjamin Button' round out top three for second week in a row.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “Marley & Me” ($24.1 million)
#2 “Bedtime Stories” ($20.3 million)
#3 “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” ($18.4 million)
#4 “Valkyrie” ($14 million)
#5 “Yes Man” ($13.8 million)

No new releases over New Year’s meant that the five stars of last week’s Christmas box office got another chance to shine. Though the percentage drops were steep for a New Year’s weekend, the box office did better business than it has in four years.

The crowd-pleasing “Marley & Me” remained the top dog , bringing in $24.1 million, with a grand total of $107 million so far. Not only did it break the Christmas records, but it’s now the third-highest-grossing dog movie on record. (Yes, there’s a “highest-grossing dog movie” record. The #1, for trivia lovers out there, is 1996′s live-action “101 Dalmatians.” The #2 spot is held by another 2008 dog movie, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.”)

[movie id="338327"]“Bedtime Stories”[/movie] remained at #2, sliding a mere 26 percent to bring in $20.3 million and a total haul of $85.4 million. As Disney predicted last week, the Adam Sandler movie continued to do solid business with families, and as the coming weeks offer Oscar-bait dramas, horror flicks and romantic comedies, it will continue to be a safe bet for younger moviegoers.

[movie id="280659"]“The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button”[/movie] had a drop of 31 percent but has racked up a box-office total of $79 million, an impressive haul for such a reflective romance. [movie id="341563"]“Valkyrie”[/movie] is another surprise, making $60.7 million in just 11 days, a better show than what other A-list political thrillers, such as “The Good Shepherd” or “Munich,” have had on holidays past.

[movie id="305062"]“The Spirit”[/movie] completely vanished from the top 10 with a paltry $3.3 million and a total gross of $14.5 million. That’s a stark contrast to [movie id="364450"]“Slumdog Millionaire,”[/movie] the only film in the top 10 that saw its gross percentage climb this weekend. Though it actually dropped from two theaters and was showing on just 612 screens, “Slumdog” earned $4.8 million, for the #10 spot. “Doubt” was on half as many screens as “The Spirit” but climbed the charts to land at #8 with $5.03 million. Those who complain that moviegoers will watch anything and ignore critical opinion should be comforted by numbers like that. Even as the holiday weekend drags to a close and people get restless, it seems they prefer to see the award nominees and critics’ picks.

Upcoming Releases

The New Year sees its first new releases with Fox’s romantic comedy [movie id="375681"]“Bride Wars,”[/movie] starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway; Sony’s faith-themed drama [movie id="384467"]“Not Easily Broken”[/movie]; and Universal’s supernatural thriller [movie id="380628"]“The Unborn.”[/movie] Clint Eastwood’s [movie id="384597"]“Gran Torino”[/movie] and [movie id="362766"]“The Reader,”[/movie] starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes, will expand from limited to nationwide release.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Marley & Me,” “Bedtime Stories” and “”The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

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