According to estimates, this final weekend of 2008 was the second largest grossing weekend at the box office this year. The top 20 films brought in over $200 million and not one film in the top ten was a sequel.
There was something for everybody this time around and audiences packed theaters over the holidays - presumably so they didnt have to talk to their families. A whopping five new films premiered, with an obnoxious golden retriever beating out Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise for the number one film in the US.
"Marley and Me" debuted at $14.6 million - the largest Christmas Day opening on record and exceeded studio estimates. Brad Pitt's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and Adam Sandler's "Bedtime Stories" also broke records for the biggest Christmas opening. The two films were actually neck and neck number-wise going into the weekend. In the end, Bedtime Stories won the three day weekend total and Button won the four day total. Button is getting a lot of good press right now and word on the street is that the film is definitely on track for an Oscar nom.
Meanwhile, Tom Cruise's "Valkerie" debuted in fourth place with an estimated $21.5 million.
Comic book writer Frank Miller's solo as a film director however didn't do quite so well. Lionsgate's artsy-action comic adaptation "The Spirit" fell below studio estimates to land at ninth place, bringing in a disappointing average of $2,500 per screen for its opening bow. Despite Media Morgue's own Jay Jammer giving it a B- ,Its currently ranked at only 6% fresh among top critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert summed up the generally terrible concensus:
There is not a trace of human emotion in it. To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material.Its a safe bet that this film will plummet into obscurity quickly.
The numbers below are estimates, so its possible that once everything is tallied up, there may be a change in the order, but for now here is the top ten for the weekend:
1 (new) Marley & Me $37,000,000
2 (new) Bedtime Stories $28,069,000
3 (new) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $27,000,000
4 (new) Valkyrie $21,531,000
5 (1) Yes Man $16,450,000
6 (2) Seven Pounds $13,400,000
7 (3) The Tale of Despereaux $9,367,605
8 (4) The Day the Earth Stood Still $7,900,000
9 (new) The Spirit $6,510,000
10 (15) Doubt $5,675,000