RECORD BREAKING YEAR AT BOX OFFICE
The record-breaking 2008 domestic box office proves Hollywood isn't as dependent on by-the-book franchises as everyone feared.
It will also be remembered for prospering even as the economy collapsed.
Ticket sales for the year -- Jan. 2, 2008, through Jan. 1, 2009 -- clocked in at $9.63 billion, ahead of the $9.62 billion earned in 2007. Admissions were down roughly 4%, far less than declines in other sectors of the economy.
Warner Bros. led the pack, posting B.O. revs of $1.77 billion, the best ever for any studio. Paramount followed at 1.58 billion.
Heading into 2008, studios were worried they wouldn't be able to replicate the success enjoyed in 2007, when franchises ("Pirates of the Caribbean," "Shrek," "Harry Potter," "Spider-Man") dominated the marquee.
The range and breadth of 2008 titles that ended up working -- including the most successful crop of female pics in history -- impressed even the most cynical studio execs.
No one imagined that Warner's Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" would become the most successful superhero title of all time hands down, or that Paramount and Marvel Entertainment's Robert Downey Jr. starrer "Iron Man" would turn into an instant franchise.
'MARLEY' TOP DOG OF WEEKEND
Twentieth Century Fox's Owen Wilson-Jennifer Aniston starrer "Marley and Me" remained best in show at the weekend box office, fetching a winning gross of $24 million from 3,505 runs for a cume of $106.5 million in only 11 days.
"Marley" led an unusually robust holiday sesh at the box office. Four of the five films opening nationwide on Dec. 25 did great business -- "Marley," Disney's "Bedtime Stories," Paramount's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and United Artists/MGM's "Valkyrie."
The specialty side also made strong gains, with Miramax's "Doubt" and Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire" coming in at Nos. 8 and 10, respectively, according to Rentrak. "Defiance" scored the best per-location average over the entire weekend, followed by "Gran Torino" and "Revolutionary Road."
B.O. revs for the week between Christmas and New Year's were up nearly 20% over the same stretch in 2007.
"It's a very atypical Christmas to have this many movies succeed," Disney prexy of domestic distribution Chuck Viane said.
Holiday films should continue to prosper well into January.
"Bedtime Stories" remained at No. 2 over the weekend, grossing an estimated $20.3 million from 3,684 locations for a cume of $85.3 million.
MOVIE REVIEWS of all the TOP FILMS
DAILY NEWS, DAILY NEWS, DAILY NEWS, DAILY NEWS, DAILY NEWS
Return from January 5 NEWS to home page