Marley is Best in Show

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The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

With four of five new wide releases performing strong this weekend, Hollywood ended the year on a high note as the top 12 movies took in $182.5 million, up 8 percent from the same weekend in 2007.

Topping the list was 20th Century Fox’s Marley & Me, which earned an estimated $37 million from 3,480 theaters for an average of $10,632 per location. The dramedy, based on John Grogan’s best-seller, set a new Christmas Day record with $14.7 million on Thursday, surpassing 2001′s Ali ($10.2 million) – a record also broken by fellow newcomers The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($12 million) and Bedtime Stories ($10.5 million). Starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, Marley & Me has collected an impressive $51.7 million in four days.

Adam Sandler’s new adventure comedy Bedtime Stories took second place with $28.1 million from 3,681 theaters, an average of $7,625 per site. The Walt Disney Pictures release has made $38.6 million since opening on Christmas Day.

Coming in close at No. 3 was David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. The drama about a man aging backwards collected $27 million over the three days from 2,988 theaters, averaging $9,036. Budgeted for about $150 million, the Paramount film topped Bedtime Stories for the four days with $39 milion.

Bryan Singer’s new WWII thriller Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise, debuted in the fourth spot with $21.5 million from 2,711 theaters. The United Artists pic averaged $7,942 over the three days and has garnered $30 million since opening on Thursday.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ Yes Man dipped just 9.9% in sales, adding $16.5 million its second weekend for a total of $49.6 million. It was followed in sixth place by Sony’s Seven Pounds, which also dropped just 9.8% and earned $13.4 million for a two-week total of $39 million, and Universal’s The Tale of Despereaux, which saw a drop of just 7.3% and another $9.4 million for a total of $27.9 million after two weeks.

Fox’s The Day the Earth Stood Still made $7.9 million its third weekend to bring its total to $63.6 million. The Keanu Reeves starrer cost about $80 million to make.

Frank Miller’s adaptation of Will Eisner’s comic book The Spirit earned $6.5 million over the weekend and $10.4 million for the four days. The Lionsgate adaptation stars Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Eva Mendes, Dan Lauria, Paz Vega, Jaime King and Scarlett Johansson.

John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis, was expanded into wide release and rounded out the top 10. The drama, based on Shanley’s play, brought in $5.7 million from 1,267 theaters and averaged $4,479. It has earned $8.83 million after three weeks.

In limited release, Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road, reuniting Titanic stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates, earned an impressive $192,000 from just three theaters, while Overture Films’ Last Chance Harvey, with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, made $96,000 from six theaters for a total of $132,000, and Sony Pictures Classics’ Waltz with Bashir collected $51,200 from five theaters for a total of $55,100.

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.

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