1. Gran Torino - $29M - $40M
2. Bride Wars - $21.5M - $21.5M
3. The Unborn - $21M - $21M
4. Marley and Me - $11.3M - $123.7M
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - $9.4M - $94.3M
6. Bedtime Stories - $8.5M - $97.1M
7. Valkyrie - $6.6M - $71.5M
8. Yes Man - $6.1M - $89.4M
9. Not Easily Broken - $5.6M - $5.6M
10. Seven Pounds - $3.9M - $66.8M
After being in a limited release for a number of weeks Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino expanded in to 2808 locations and saw its box office rocket. It could have been assumed that while it was doing well in a limited release, Warner Bros had perhaps left it too long to expand the film meaning that anyone who wanted to see the film may well have already sought it out. Nothing could be further from the truth as Gran Torino took over $10M on Friday and continued to perform well over the rest of the weekend.
The film has scored some impressive word of mouth though a number of critics were split on their opinion of the film. Going in to the weekend it was expected that the comedy Bride Wars would score pole position but Eastwood managed to see off that film and horror The Unborn. While not technically the film's opening weekend, it marks Eastwood's best weekend for any film he's starred in or directed of his whole career. Let's not forget he also found time to direct Changeling earlier in the year.
Anne Hathaway comes off a hot 2008 (Box office from Get Smart, acclaim from Rachel Getting Married, lets ignore Passengers) with another good start for Bride Wars. Co-starring Kate Hudson, Bride Wars is the tale of two best friends who find their weddings are to take place on the same day. Cue hilarity as each tries to sabotage the other's big day. Any other weekend and this would have opened at the top spot but once Gran Torino looked to be winning the weekend on Friday, Bride Wars had to fend off David Goyer's The Unborn, which actually had a stronger Friday. As the horror fans fell away over the rest of the weekend it gave Bride Wars the chance to pull ahead, but only just. The film should see good weekday business as a date movie/girl's night out but may get hammered next weekend as four new movies enter the fray.
David Goyer has seen some success as a writer (Blade Series, Batman Begins) but his directorial debut The Invisibles sank without much of a trace. He returns this week with the horror film The Unborn (well PG-13 horror), the story of a woman who is slowly becoming possessed by an evil spirit trying to break through in to our world. The film, which stars Gary Oldman, got off to a pretty good start, having no direct competition and in a box office situation that hasn't really seen horror since Saw V, and ended the weekend with an impressive $21M. The film needed that good start as well, the much hyped My Bloody Valentine 3D (not to mention a hard 'R' rating) will be seeing a release next weekend and will no doubt attract the same fanbase that made The Unborn a success this week.
After having the box office to itself over Christmas, Marley & Me has begun to weaken in its third weekend on the chart. This will concern absolutely no-one at the studio given the film has taken over $120M. The canine comedy should go on to perform well on the international market. All up Marley & Me could see $250M in total global takings. For the actors involved, only Bruce Almighty has been a bigger film for Jennifer Aniston (and while she was the co-star, she was hardly the draw for the film - same here I guess!) while Owen Wilson has to look to The Wedding Crashers and Cars for his biggest success, though Marley & Me gives him a much needed public eye boost after his recent suicide attempt.
Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories has the biggest Friday to Friday drop of the older films in the top ten, a nasty 73%. Bedtime Stories has managed a couple of good weekends, especially Christmas week, but its days might be numbered and it'll struggle to $120M. Had Marley & Me not taken the family market by surprise, Bedtime Stories might already be looking at $120M. As it is, it'll be another success for Sandler, but closer to Chuck & Larry ($120M) than The Longest Yard ($158M).
Benjamin Button faired the best of the big Christmas four, down 55% on a Friday to Friday basis. The Brad Pitt starrer has so far made an impressive $94M - a figure not to be sniffed at given the length of the film and the fact that it was not an easy sell. Award success could buoy the film further but it can't not be affected by the new releases next Friday. Benjamin Button should break the $100M barrier before leaving the top ten. Valkyrie's drop fell somewhere in the middle, down 58% in the same time frame. The Tom Cruise Nazi drama is quietly approaching its production budget of $75M and has been a solid success, more so given how bad it was originally expected to perform.
Our final new entry, breaking into the top ten from 724 locations is Not Easily Broken, the Bill Duke directed drama about a couple whose marriage is tested by a road accident and their shifting affections. The low budget film will have just a week in the top ten unless word of mouth and expansion follows.
Seven Pounds and Yes Man round out the top ten. Both films have recouped their budgets and while Yes Man will be seen as a success for Jim Carrey, Seven Pounds will go down as something of a disappointment for Will Smith. On Seven Pounds side is its relatively low production budget of $55M (Yes Man cost $85).