‘Marley and Me’ still best in show

Fox's family drama earns $14 million Friday

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Marley and Me” continued to easily lead the crowded litter of Christmas films on Friday, although overall business eased off after an unexpected surge on Christmas Day.

On the specialty side, Paramount Vantage/DreamWorks’ “Revolutionary Road” grossed the highest per screen average of the day–$22,000–as it opened in three runs to an estimated gross of roughly $67,000. “Rev Road,” directed by Sam Mendes, marks the first time that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have appeared together on the bigscreen since “Titanic.”  

“Marley” grossed an estimated $14 million from 3,480 runs for a very merry two-day cume of $28.8 million, well ahead of expectations. It’s even possible that the Jennifer Aniston-Owen Wilson film could jump the $50 million mark for the four-day holiday weekend.

Placing No. 2 for the day, Paramount’s Brad Pitt-Cate Blanchett starrer “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” held a narrow lead over Disney’s Adam Sandler family pic “Bedtime Stories” in grossing an estimated $10.2 million from 2,988 runs for a two-day cume of $22 million.

“Bedtime” grossed an estimated $10 million from 3,681 playdates for a two-day cume of $20.5 million.

Heading into the weekend, most thought that “Bedtime Stories” would do the most biz, since it was perceived as more of a family films than “Marley.” But “Marley” has succeeded in appealing to both families and general auds, along with females of all ages. “Bedtime” could overtake “Button” on Saturday and Sunday, but “Button” should come in second for the four-day Christmas weekend.

United Artists and MGM’s Tom Cruise thriller “Valkyrie” continued to do steady business as well on Friday, grossing more than $8 million from 2,711 runs for a running two-day total of $16.5 million. Film placed No. 4.

Studios couldn’t have received a better holiday present that the depth and strength of the Christmas box office so far. Never  before have so many wide releases gone out over Christmas, and so far, audiences are liking the variety of choice. Studio honchos weren’t worried by the drop in traffic on Friday, saying moviegoing was bound to go down after such a strong Christmas Day.

Coming in No. 5 was Warner Bros.’ holdover “Yes Man” which grossed $5.9 million from 3,434 runs for an eight-day total of $39 million. The Jim Carrey laffer opened Dec. 19, as did Sony’s Will Smith drama “Seven Pounds.”

On Friday, “Seven Pounds”–a rare box office disappointment for Smith–placed No. 6, grossing an estimated $4.6 million from 2,758 theaters for an eight-day cume of $30.3 million.

The only Christmas release struggling is Lionsgate’s “The Spirit,” which came in No. 11 on Friday. Film, directed by Frank Miller, grossed an estimated $2.7 million for a two-day total of $6.5 million.

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