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I should have known. The box office has been going to the dogs all throughout the fall with funny animals winning at the box office all the time. Now that we are into the winter, things are no different. Marley and Me not only won the long-weekend box office race, it also set the Christmas day record for a movie opening that day, at $14,675,000. Add in the $37 million it made this weekend and the grand total so far is $51.6 million.

What a change in fortunes for Jennifer Aniston who, up until now, never met a flop movie she didn’t like. She really needs to keep on posing naked for magazine covers from now on.

In fact, Christmas Day was a big one all around at the theaters. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button made $12,000,000 and Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler made $10,529,000. So all three of these movies beat the Christmas-opening-day record set by Ali, of $10.2 mil.

All I have to ask is: where the heck is this recession that all these movie people are complaining about? We had big blockbusters all over the place in November, and now we have records falling on Christmas Day. People may not want to spend on American automobiles, but they are still wasting their money on American movies — especially ones with dogs in them.

As for Adam Sandler, he ends up third for the four-day period, behind even The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That flick made $39 mil to Bedtime Stories‘ $38 mil. He did finally end up second for the three-day weekend, though. I’m surprised, because usually Adam Sandler movies do better than this. I mean, it’s not a bad showing at all at the box office, but the history would have indicated a better showing for Sandler. Like, for instance, a first place finish.

Then again, history would have indicated a better showing for Will Smith and Seven Pounds, which has lurched to $39 million after two weeks. History also shows that Tom Cruise would do better than $21 million for Valkyrie. That’s $90 million right down the drain for him.

History also shows that a comic-book movie would normally do better than ninth place and a $10.3 million four-day haul for The Spirit. Was it that bad a movie? I guess so, eh?

I guess the moral of the story this weekend is that the moviegoing public is throwing history and statistics to the wind right now. The public doesn’t care about past box-office showings when they go to a theater — they just want to see a movie. (History also tells us that Brad Pitt movies usually beat Jennifer Aniston at the box office by a mile. Well, so much for that theory, too, this week.)

Here are the Friday to Sunday totals:

1. Marley & Me $37 million
2. Bedtime Stories $28 million
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $27 million
4. Valkyrie $21.5 million
5. Yes Man
$16.5 million
6. Seven Pounds
$13.4 million
7. The Tale of Despereaux $9.4 million
8. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) $7.9 million
9. The Spirit $6.5 million
10. Doubt $5.7 million

You awards-season fans are probably all going ape over the fact that Revolutionary Road made a per-theater average of $64,000, which I understand is the highest PTA of 2008. Well, that’s what you get when you show a highly-regarded movie on only three screens!

I know people are going wild and crazy analyzing the $381,000 that The Wrestler made this weekend on 18 screens, or the $1,4 million made on 205 screens by Frost/Nixon, or the $2.4 mil made by Gran Torino on 84 screens. Me, not so much. I’m not going to get excited about the box-office numbers of these art-house flicks until they start to climb the Top Ten charts. Obsessing over a PTA of $64,000 seems like a total waste of time to me.

That’s all for now! I’ll be back to preview next weekend’s box office — which is shaping up to look a lot like this weekend’s order of finish — later this week.


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