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'Marley & Me' top dog at busy Christmas box office

'Marley & Me' top dog at busy Christmas box office

It may have been a bleak Christmas for U.S. retailers but Hollywood enjoyed a bumper holiday as new films, led by the dog tale "Marley & Me" and awards contender "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," drew throngs of moviegoers to theaters across North America.
"Marley & Me" sold an estimated US$37 million worth of tickets during the traditional three-day weekend beginning on Friday, distributor 20th Century Fox said on Sunday. Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson star in the adaptation of a bestseller about a couple and their Labrador retriever.
As with the four other new releases, "Marley & Me" opened on Thursday and earned US$14.7 million - a new Christmas Day record.
The old tally, set in 2001 when "Ali" opened to US$10.2 million, was also broken by the new Adam Sandler comedy "Bedtime Stories" and by "Benjamin Button," starring Aniston's ex-husband Brad Pitt.
Overall Christmas Day sales reached US$75 million, according to tracking firm Media By Numbers, up about US$10 million from last year.
"Bedtime Stories" was No. 2 for the weekend with US$28.1 million and its Christmas Day haul of US$10.5 million drove its total to US$38.6 million.
"Benjamin Button," in which Pitt's character ages backward, did better on Christmas Day with a US$12 million opening. Its weekend tally of US$27 million took its total to US$39 million,.
The adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story has racked up five nominations from the Golden Globes and eight from the Critics Choice Awards. Women accounted for 60 percent of the audience and 70 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25, Paramount said.
Tom Cruise's fact-based thriller "Valkyrie," about a failed plot to kill Adolf Hitler, opened at No. 4 with US$21.5 million for the weekend and US$30 million for the four days - much better than skeptics had predicted. The United Artists movie has been plagued by bad publicity and shifting release dates.
"We had obstacles to overcome," said Erik Lomis, head of worldwide distribution at the studio's closely held Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer parent. "But the movie speaks for itself."
Male moviegoers comprised 55 percent of the audience and two-thirds of the audience was over 25 years old.
The only dud among the rookies was Lionsgate's comic book adaptation "The Spirit," which opened at No. 9 with US$6.5 million for the weekend and US$10.4 million for the four-day period.
After two weekends in limited release, "Doubt" expanded nationally and jumped five places to No. 10 with US$5.7 million for the three-day period.
Miramax Films' adaptation of a Pulitzer-winning play about suspected child abuse by a priest stars Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. It has earned US$8.8 million to date.
Last weekend's champ, the Jim Carrey comedy "Yes Man," fell to No. 5 with US$16.5 million. The 10-day tally for the Warner Bros. release rose to US$49.6 million.


Updated : 2021-06-16 06:52 GMT+08:00