B.O. Analysis, Dec. 28: ‘Marley and Me’ Tops Christmas Weekend

An absolutely amazing and record-breaking Christmas weekend at the nation’s theatres as Fox’s Marley & Me topped the chart with an astonishing $51.7 million for the four day period and $37 million for the weekend.

The heartwarming dog tale kicked off with the best Christmas day debut ever of $14.675 million. At No. 2 for the weekend was Disney’s Adam Sandler family film Bedtime Stories which earned $38.6 million for four days and $28.1 million for the weekend as it once again proves that Sandler remains one of the most bankable stars in the world.

In the third spot was mega-awards contender The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which earned $39 million for four days and $27 million for the three day weekend period. The David Fincher-directed film continues to generate Oscar buzz and was clearly a huge favorite with audiences for Christmas. 

Tom Cruise made his presence known as MGM’s Valkyrie earned $30 million for four days and $21.5 million for the weekend as the period drama gave audiences a chance to enjoy some retro-Mission: Impossible style action. A terrific marketing campaign certainly paid off for the World War II film whose theme did not exactly scream Christmas cheer, but was a hit nonetheless.

Again, the specialized film arena continues to be the most interesting with Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Reader, The Wrestler, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, Doubt and Revolutionary Road all performing incredibly well on a per-theatre basis. In fact, Revolutionary Road posted the highest debut per-theatre average of any film released in 2008 with $64,000, thus beating the previous record holder Frost/Nixon which debuted with a per-theatre average of $60,236 just four weeks ago.

Interesting to note that the total combined domestic box-office for all of these specialized films adds up to a mere $52.5 million, but this number will continue t grow as these films expand into wider release in the coming weeks.

Another great weekend on the books as we head into the final days of the box-office year of 2008.

FOUR-DAY STUDIO ESTIMATES (source Media By Numbers)

1. NEW! Marley & Me (Fox) – $51.6M; 3480 theaters; $10,632 PTA

2. NEW! Bedtime Stories (Disney) – $38.5M; 3681theaters; $7,625 PTA

3. NEW! Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount) – $39M; 2988 theaters; $9,036 PTA

4. NEW! Valkyrie (MGM) – $30M; 2711 theaters; $7,942 PTA

5. Yes Man (Warner Bros.) – $22.3M; 3434 theaters; $4,790 PTA; -10%; $49.5M cume

6. Seven Pounds (Sony/Columbia) – $18.2M; 2758 theaters; $4,859 PTA; -10%; $39M cume

7. The Tale of Despereaux (Universal) – $11.4M; 3107 theaters; $3,015 PTA; -7%; $27.9M cume

8. The Day The Earth Stood Still (Fox) – $10.6M; 2402 theaters; $3,289 PTA; -20%; $63.6M cume

9. NEW! The Spirit (Lionsgate) – $10.3M; 2509 theaters; $2,595 PTA

10. Doubt (Miramax) – $7M; 1267 theaters; $4,479 PTA; +733%; $8.8M cume