In a move that everybody who witnessed how well Beverly Hills Chihuahua did saw coming, the latest cutesy dog picture to come out of Hollywood, Marley & Me, came in at number one at the box office, with $37 million for the weekend, and a whopping $51.6 million since Christmas. Sure, sympathetic tabloid fodder Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson may have helped those numbers, but never underestimate the power of puppies (or puppy-dog eyes).
There were four other big releases on Christmas Day, but only three of them were in the Top Five: Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories, Brad Pitt's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Tom Cruise's Valkyrie -- all of which made over $20 million for the weekend, and more than $30 million including Christmas Day. But the fifth major release, The Spirit, came in ninth place. Ninth. Even The Day the Earth Stood Still made more money, and it's been out for three weeks and is terrible.
What caused such a low turnout for The Spirit? Was it the fact that the movie looked ridiculous? It had all of the darkness and style of Sin City, but half the star power and twice as much goofy running around on rooftops and sliding down power lines. Is it set in present day? The 1940s? Is Sam Jackson a samurai? A doctor? A Russian fur merchant? Are the Spirit and Eva Mendes enemies? Lovers? Or is he lovers with that other girl? Is he dead? Not dead? These are all questions people probably have. Hell, I had them, and I'd read the comic books. I think Box Office Mojo said it best when it pointed out that fewer people saw it than saw The Phantom and The Shadow, two notorious clunkers, on their opening weekends. Why did Lion's Gate think this movie could run with the big dogs, literally and figuratively? Shouldn't they have waited for February or March, when 300 did so well?
Here's the rest of the Top Ten:
1. Marley and Me ($37 million; $51.6 million in four days)
2. Bedtime Stories ($28 million; $38.6 million in four days)
3. he Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($27 million; $39 million in four days)
4. Valkyrie ($21.5 million; $30 million in four days)
5. Yes Man ($16.4 million; $49.6 million in two weeks)
6. Seven Pounds ($13.4 million; $39 million in two weeks)
7. The Tale of Despereaux ($9.3 million; $27.9 million in two weeks)
8. The Day the Earth Stood Still ($7.9 million; $63.6 million in three weeks)
9. The Spirit ($6.5 million; $10.3 million in four days)
10. Doubt ($5.6 million; $8.8 million in three weeks)
What did you see this weekend? What did you like?