(Entertainment Weekly) -- If the box office this weekend is any indication of what 2009 will be like, maybe there is a reason for some optimism.
"Marley & Me" maintained a box office lead for the second week in a row, according to studio estimates.
Thanks to Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt, and even Tom Cruise, the movie theater was a big draw in the first days of the new year. The top five films were the same as last weekend, and they each dropped less than 35 percent -- an impressive feat at any time of year. And overall the box office was robust, up an estimated 7 percent compared to New Year's weekend in 2008.
It certainly helped that there was a movie for everyone at the box office: family ("Marley & Me"), drama ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), suspense ("Valkyrie"), and even a kid flick ("Bedtime Stories").
"Marley" won the No. 1 slot. Adding $24.1 million to its coffers put the pooch just where Fox wanted him, in the coveted $100 million club. The movie's total take stands at $106.5 million and with little competition in the weeks to come, it will probably keep on climbing.
"Bedtime Stories" is also holding strong. The Adam Sandler-starrer dropped a scant 26 percent its second weekend to $20.3 million, putting its total gross at $85 million. The critics hated it, but moviegoers sure are fans.
And lucky for Paramount, the David Fincher-directed drama "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" seems to be holding moviegoers' attention. Losing only 31 percent of its opening weekend gross, the lengthy -- and expensive -- epic is nearing the $80 million mark after two weeks in release.
The WWII epic "Valkyrie," which was widely lampooned before anyone had seen a frame of the film, has actually turned into a successful movie for the revamped MGM. Grossing an additional $14 million, the Bryan Singer-directed thriller has now earned $60.7 million in two weeks.
Rounding out the top five is Jim Carrey's comedy "Yes Man"; an additional $13.9 million brings the Warner Bros. film's earnings to $79.4 million.
Among the Oscar bait hitting theaters, Miramax's "Doubt" and Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire" both hit the top ten. The Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman-starrer "Doubt," in over 1,200 theaters for the second week in a row, grossed $5 million to put its total cume at $18 million.
And the Danny Boyle-directed "Slumdog" is doing gangbusters at the theater. In its eighth week, the Bollywood-infused drama earned $4.7 million to put its cume at $28.7 million. Not bad for a movie that back in September had no studio to call home.
The Kate Winslet-Leonardo DiCaprio reunion "Revolutionary Road," which added 30 theaters in its second week of release, is doing terrific limited business. Its per-screen average is $25,000, with a cume of $1.3 million.
Meanwhile, Paramount's "Defiance" got off to a strong start. The World War II film starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber grossed $121,000 on only two screens. It's a good thing "Defiance" and other well-pedigreed films will expand in the weeks to come, offering moviegoers something more than the usual January dreck.
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