The Top Five
#1 "Gran Torino" ($29 million)
#2 "Bride Wars" ($21.5 million)
#3 "The Unborn" ($21.1 million)
#4 "Marley & Me" ($11.3 million)
#5 "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" ($9.45 million)
Neither the demonic unborn nor battling brides can defeat Clint Eastwood when it comes to the box office. His latest directorial effort (and second in a single year) gunned down all other contenders for the number one spot, bringing in a grand total of $29 million. "Gran Torino" has already been doing solid numbers in limited release, and can boast a total haul of $40.1 million. It's actually the biggest opening Eastwood has ever had as an actor or a director, which is fitting for what the acting legend has hinted may be his final starring role.
Though Eastwood's latest film did surprising numbers with female audiences (52 percent of the audience was female, unusual numbers for the alpha-male actor), it's probably not surprising that the #2 spot went to the female-friendly "Bride Wars," which earned a solid $21.5 million with the under-25 crowd. But Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway might have felt a cold chill coming up the aisle, as "The Unborn" fell just shy of the spot with $21.1 million. The debut of Sony's religious-themed drama "Not Easily Broken" didn't crack the top five, but it managed to come in at #9 with $5.6 million.
The specialty films that expanded their releases also did impressive numbers, though all three failed to crack the top 10. "The Wrestler" added 42 screens for a weekend gross of $874,000, bringing its total gross to $2.8 million from a mere 60 screens — Mickey Rourke's big win at the Golden Globes on Sunday night should give it a boost. Kate Winslet's dramatic pair of "Revolutionary Road" and "The Reader" also expanded, but only "Road" increased its box office take, bringing in $1.4 million from only 135 screens (ditto!).
Overall, the box office continued its hearty haul last weekend, and every debut actually exceeded its studio's expectations. It seems that a rough economy can put a dent in every industry but the movies, and that it takes more than a downturn to keep audiences away from Clint Eastwood or wedding catfights.
Three major releases are poised for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend: Lionsgate 3-D horror film "My Bloody Valentine," DreamWorks' family-friendly "Hotel for Dogs," and the Paramount-Sony comedy, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop."
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