Screen image from 'Marley and Me'

U.S. movie box office attendance remained strong in the first weekend of the year, with Marley and Me staying at the top of the heap with a three-day take of $24.1 million. The Adam Sandler comedy "romaction" film Bedtime Stories continued to be a strong draw, finishing second with $20.3 million.

Both films have good, positive values presented in an entertaining and rather thoughtful way, and audiences are responding enthusiastically.

Rounding out the top five for the weekend were The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Valkyrie, and Yes Man. All three boast big stars in the lead roles, and Button and Valkyrie both demonstrate that audiences will attend challenging films as long as the filmmakers attend to entertainment value and don’t press unpopular left-wing political points, attacks on bourgeois normality, or cockeyed moral relativsm.

—S. T. Karnick

Comment here!