'Unborn,' 'Bride Wars' battle for second place

Warner Bros.’ expansion of Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” revved into the top spot Friday with an estimated $9.6 million giving the multihyphenate his best wide opening day ever at the box office.

Upping its theater count from 84 to 2,808, “Gran Torino’s” haul easily eclipsed Eastwood’s previous opening day record of $5.4 million posted by 2000’s “Space Cowboys” as well as the $3.4 million Friday expansion of his last headliner, 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby.”

Among its notable accolades to date in the award season, “Gran Torino” was lauded by the National Board of Review for Eastwood’s acting and Nick Schenk’s screenplay.

Rogue Pictures/Universal’s horror-thriller “Unborn” and Fox’s Anne Hathaway-Kate Hudson romantic comedy “Bride Wars” also posted notable bows in the second and third slots respectively. “Unborn” grossed $8.2 million at 2,357 theaters while “Bride Wars” generated $8.1 million at 3,226 engagements.

“Bride Wars” marked a first day high for Hudson, inching past her previous record of $7.96 million from 2003’s “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” That February romantic comedy went on to open at $23.8 million.

Fox’s No. 1 holdover over the last two weekends, “Marley and Me,” nabbed fourth with $3.2 million from 3,478, down 67%, and taking its cume to $115.6 million.

Paramount-Warner Bros. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” took fifth with $2.9 million in its third Friday at 2,947, down 59%, and raising its domestic total to $87.8 million.

Sony’s urban faith based pic “Not Easily Broken” was the third wide release yesterday, opening in ninth with $1.9 million off 724.

Among Golden Globe noms’ prowess at the B.O. Friday, Fox Searchlight’s “The Wrestler” touted the day’s second highest theater average with $5,294 after Par Vantage’s “Defiance” which posted $8,716. “The Wrestler’s” take of $254,000 repped a 63% uptick from a week ago thanks to the pic widening from 18 to 48. “The Wrestler” received Globe noms for Mickey Rourke (drama actor), Marisa Tomei (supporting actress) and Bruce Springsteen (original song). The current domestic cume for the Darren Aronofsky’s film stands at $2.2 million.

Par Vantage’s “Defiance” collected $17,000 from two sites. Pic’s score composed by James Newton Howard is up for a Globe. Domestic B.O. for “Defiance” currently stands at $258,000.

Par Vantage’s “Revolutionary Road” spiked 20% yesterday, earning $419,000, after expanding from 38 to 135. Overall, pic has four Globe noms for best drama, director Sam Mendes as well as Kate Winslet (drama actress) and Leonardo DiCaprio (drama actor). Through yesterday, “Revolutionary Road” earned $2.1 million domestically.

The third Friday for Overture’s “Last Chance Harvey” saw a 20% gain from a week ago, collecting $42,000 from 16 playdates for a locale average of $2,625 and a current B.O. of $432,154. “Harvey” has earned respective musical-comedy acting Globe nods for Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.

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