Image from 'Marley and Me'
U.S. audiences flocked to the nation’s movie theaters this past weekend as several new films opened with big stars and popular genres in the past few days, S. T. Karnick writes.

Big stars and popular genres brought U.S. audiences out in force to the theaters this week. Marley and Me set a record for U.S. movie ticket sales on a Christmas Day. The movie’s PG rating and two comedy stars—Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson attracted audiences in record numbers.

Also opening unexpectedly strongly in the past few days were the Adam Sandler comedy Bedtime Stories; The Strange Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt and directed by David Fincher; and Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Bryan Singer. The one film to underperform was Frank Miller’s The Spirit, as audiences gravitated toward ligther fare with big stars, including Yes Man (Jim Carrey, comedy), Seven Pounds (Will Smith, drama), and The Tale of Despereaux (animated comedy-adventure).

Here are the numbers for the past weekend (courtesy of

    Movie Distributor Genre Gross Change
1 (new) Marley & Me 20th Century Fox Comedy $36,357,586  
2 (new) Bedtime Stories Buena Vista Comedy $27,450,296  
3 (new) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Paramount Pictures Drama $26,853,816  
4 (new) Valkyrie United Artists Thriller/Suspense $21,027,007  
5 (1) Yes Man Warner Bros. Comedy $16,657,046 -8.79%
6 (2) Seven Pounds Columbia Drama $13,203,236 -11.10%
7 (3) The Tale of Despereaux Universal Adventure $8,932,625 -11.59%
8 (4) The Day the Earth Stood Still 20th Century Fox Action $7,697,799 -22.17%
9 (new) The Spirit Lionsgate Action $6,463,278  
10 (15) Doubt Miramax Drama $5,339,742 +684.16%
11 (6) Twilight Summit Entertainment Drama $4,742,432 -8.61%
12 (5) Four Christmases Warner Bros. Comedy $4,471,050 -41.94%
13 (8) Slumdog Millionaire Fox Searchlight Romantic Comedy $4,301,870 +40.87%
14 (7) Bolt Buena Vista Comedy $3,377,761 -18.55%
15 (18) Gran Torino Warner Bros. Drama $2,322,781


—S. T. Karnick