The Holidays™ are over. We hope yours ended on a lighter note than ours did—curling up with a 60 Minutes story about a seven-year-old girl decapitated in the back of a limo by a drunk driver.
What say we lighten the mood and swing into a productive 2009 with some box office numbers?
1. Marley & Me - $24.1 million
In what will certainly go down as the Holocaustiest holiday movie season in history, it was the story of a disobedient Golden Lab with no known ties to the Nazi party that again managed to capture America's hearts. With an 11-day total of $107 million, Marley is well on track to becoming the Highest Grossing Live-Action Dog Movie of all Time, rocketing past previous record holders like 1972's Lassie Tangos in Paris and Richard Attenborough's 1982 masterpiece, Benjhi.
2. Bedtime Stories - $20.3 million
We finally have some clue as to what co-star Keri Russell was talking about on a recent Late Night with Conan O'Brien appearance, as this mostly family-friendly offering does feature one disturbing sequence in which the actress is spirited away from a campfire by a Benjamin Buttonesque goblin-manchild.
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - $18.4 million
We think we know what would have made Button work better: having Brad Pitt in one outfit throughout his remarkable transformation. Think about how much more you would have been invested in the journey had the film been book-ended by baby-sized Button swaddled in the adult tuxedo and top hat he eventually grows into somewhere around the two-hour mark.
4. Valkyrie - $14 million
Valkyrie is the rare Hitler-hunting movie that rewards repeat-viewings, as director Bryan Singer has loaded his film with dozens of easter eggs just waiting to be discovered by WWII buffs. For example, in the suitcase-bomb rigging scene, if you look on the bookshelf behind Col. von Stauffenberg, you'll notice a copy of "Ein Sehr Hitler Weihnachten" ("A Very Hitler Christmas"), the Fuhrer's little-known, disastrous attempt at invading the holiday album market.
5. Yes Man - $13.9 million
We'd be happier for star Zooey Deschanel and Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard engagement had we no suspicions that the entire thing was just an elaborate promotional stunt, set to climax with the words "Yes Man, I Do" at the couple's DVD-release-themed wedding.