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    Box-Office Battle of Exes Goes to Jennifer Aniston

    Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Marley and Me Barry Wetcher/ Fox

    Yes, there was room at the holiday box office for both Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. But for those keeping score, it was the ex-Mrs. Pitt who took up a good deal more of the room.

    Aniston and Owen Wilson's Marley & Me stayed strong after its record Christmas Day opening, taking in an estimated $37 million from Friday-Sunday, Exhibitor Relations said today. 

    Pitt's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button grossed $27.2 million during the same three days. In the rankings, it fell from second on Christmas Day to third for the weekend, but posted a bigger per-screen average than Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories ($28.1 million Friday-Sunday).

    Aniston, Pitt and Sandler represented just the start of the star parade. The holiday box office also boasted new films from Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

    Drilling down into the numbers:

    • DiCaprio and Winslet's Revolutionary Road was a Titanic in limited release, averaging a 2008-best $64,000 at each of its three theaters, for an overall gross of $192,000.
    • Like Benjamin Button, Cruise's Valkyrie outgrossed Bedtime Stories, theater for theater, but came up short in actual dollars, taking in $21.5 million over the weekend, for a fourth-place finish.
    • If Aniston really wants to make Pitt look bad, she should put their four-day grosses side-by-side: Marley & Me, $51.7 million; Benjamin Button, $39 million.
    • Marley & Me's weekend was on par with that of Aniston's last hit (and last movie), The Break-Up. For Wilson, it was his biggest-ever Friday-Sunday gross, bigger than even Wedding Crashers. For dogs, it was their biggest of the year, topping Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
    • Pitt hasn't ever really fronted a wide-release Oscar vehicle like Benjamin Button, so it's hard to compare and contrast his numbers. For what it's worth, Button did avoid the splat of this award season's other big-star, big-studio entry, Australia.
    • As Sandler's first movie to be released under the family friendly Walt Disney banner, Bedtime Stories is, likewise, a film that's difficult to put in context of its star's career. For what it's worth, the Friday-Sunday gross was Sandler's lowest since 2000's much-maligned Little Nicky.
    • Last year when Cruise's Lions for Lambs failed to open No. 1, United Artists attempted to preserve its star's enviable winning streak by insisting the movie wasn't really what the world had come to know as a Tom Cruise movie. This weekend, the studio might want its spin back as compared to Lions for Lambs, Valkyrie opened huge, while compared to a Tom Cruise movie, Valkyrie was the lowest-grossing you-know-what since Jerry Maguire, which, it should be noted, opened a million years ago (well, 1996), and opened at No. 1.
    • Didn't The Spirit open, too? Well, yes, it opened. It just didn't, you know, open in The Dark Knight and Iron Man sense. The comic-book movie faltered with a $6.5 million Friday-Sunday, ninth-place debut.
    • The holiday spirit aided Jim Carrey's Yes Man ($16.5 million) and Will Smith's Seven Pounds ($13.4 million). Each film saw ticket sales dip only 10 percent from last weekend's disappointing bows. The animated Tale of Despereaux ($9.4 million) was off only 7 percent.
    • Oscar-contender Doubt ($5.7 million) broke wide, and broke into the Top 10. 
    • Christmas is over, and so is Four Christmases' run in the Top 10, despite a still-solid $5 million Friday-Sunday gross. It exits after four weekends and a $111.8 million overall take.
    • Like Four Christmases, Twilight ($4.5 million) lost more than 1,000 screens in the holiday crush, and fell out of the Top 10. The movie departs after five weekends, and a whopping $167.1 million overall gross.
    • Numbers weren't known for Quantum of Solace, but it seems certain the James Bond movie is done with the Top 10 after six weekends. Through Friday, the film had grossed $163.4 million, per Box Office Mojo, just shy of the take of 007 standard-bearer, Casino Royale.
    • Gran Torino ($2.4 million off 84 screens) and The Wrestler ($381,068 off 18 screens) continued to be hot in limited release; Frost/Nixon ($1.5 million) bulked up by 166 theaters, bringing its total to 205, but saw its per-screen average fall from great to good.
    • Bolt ($3.6 million) joined 2008's $100 million club. Membership now stands at 24 films, per Box Office Mojo.  
    • Overall, Hollywood had a good holiday, with business for its top films up 15 percent compared to the same weekend last year.

    Here's a recap of the top-grossing weekend films based on Friday-Sunday final numbers compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

    1. Marley & Me, $37 million
    2. Bedtime Stories, $28.1 million
    3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, $27.2 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, $7.9 million
    9. The Spirit, $6.5 million
    10. Doubt, $5.7 million

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