Box Office Preview: 'Bedtime Stories' eyes a happy ending | EW.com

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Box Office Preview: 'Bedtime Stories' eyes a happy ending

Bedtime_stories_adam_l

Bedtime_stories_adam_l
Okay, who got gift certificates for the local multiplex from Santa? Your friendly neighborhood Hollywood movie moguls are certainly banking on some Christmas cheer: The four-day holiday weekend brings five, count ‘em, five new wide releases to end 2008 – some Oscar bait (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), some Razzie bait (Bedtime Stories), a dog wagging a relationship tale (Marley & Me), fresh meat for the Comic-Con crowd (The Spirit), and one for people who might like the History Channel more if the people on it were prettier (Valkyrie). What, you say those don’t scratch your holiday movie itch? Last week’s leaders – Jim Carrey’s Yes Man and Will Smith’s Seven Pounds – are still out there, and other Oscar contenders are inching into more cities. Doubt makes the widest jump, to 1,200+ screens, while Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, The Reader, and Slumdog Millionaire expand, though probably not enough to trouble the Likely (But We’ll Just See on Sunday, Won’t We?) Four-Day Top Five:

1. Bedtime Stories: $33 million
Not hearing anyone pushing Adam
Sandler “for your consideration” at Oscar time, are ya? Well, with
apologies to Dave Karger, let’s wager the kids zeroing in on their
parents’ wallets for a day at the movies couldn’t care less about “prestige.” The
goofiness that has critics shaking their heads – Owen Gleiberman called Bedtime Stories “a dispirited, galumphing mess” on the way to giving it a D – may be exactly what its audience is after; call it Best Dispiriting, Galumphing Mess to Win Weekend Box Office Gold.

2. Marley & Me: $28 million
Jennifer Aniston has certainly done her
part to get this movie noticed, with news-making interviews and pictorials (EW,
Vogue, a GQ cover you may have seen). It all adds up: Our favorite Friend; a dog; an easygoing Owen Wilson; promos that play up the
canine slapstick (“the worst dog in the world!” – aww, but look at those
eyes…). What you get is a movie that hits the sweet spot for couples who
want to see a movie, peg Bedtime Stories as too dumb
and crowded with noisy, restless kids, and can’t quite bring themselves to
spend hours watching Benjamin Button inch backwards toward the grave or Tom Cruise
fail to kill Hitler.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: $21 million
Curiosity is running high, what with all the Oscar talk, and the
promise of seeing Brad Pitt as an elderly baby with a funny voice. (Fun
fact: Did you know he was once married to Marley & Me’s Jennifer Aniston? Pretty sure
I read that somewhere…) Still, it’s a long movie about mortality – is
that what a large audience will want to escape to on their days off? If
word of mouth from those who check it out is positive, it’s
reasonable to think this could have a good run in the weeks to
come – some love from the Golden Globes in a couple of weeks wouldn’t
hurt – but for now, the hunch is this weekend’s going to Sandler and the
dogs.

4. Valkyrie: $17 million
Speaking of things people might not want to
think about on the holidays, how about Nazis? Or Tom Cruise as a
battle-scarred German officer? From a distance, it seemed like another
potential Wha? moment in the star’s off-the-rails run. And yet…now that it’s here, this doesn’t feel like box office
poison. It’s the only new feature at the multiplex that offers a hint
of action, and the reviews have not been half bad (Lisa
Schwarzbaum gave it a B). Let’s see if Cruise can cash in on the good will he won by rolling the dice on Tropic Thunder.

5. Yes Man: $12 million
The Jim Carrey comedy won a wintry weekend that left a lot of the country housebound. Odds are it
fills a niche for people looking for a comedy, any comedy; enough to keep it in
the upper reaches of the box office chart? Think positive…

ALSO OPENING WIDE:

The Spirit: $7 million
Comic-book fans have been waiting eagerly for the
Frank Miller-directed adaptation of the Will Eisner classic. But with
all the higher profile movies debuting on more screens, just who else is likely to gravitate to it? Comics fans will be there, but will big audiences look at what fans consider
“stylish” and process it as “weird-looking”? With Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler,
and Jennifer Aniston in the theaters next door, it may take more than
Samuel L. Jackson as the Octopus to spread this movie’s tentacles beyond its core.

More from EW:
10 Best Films of 2008: Lisa Schwarzbaum’s Picks
10 Best Films of 2008: Owen Gleiberman’s Picks 
10 Best Movies on DVD of 2008: Ken Tucker’s Picks

1. Bedtime Stories: $33 million
Not hearing anyone pushing AdamSandler “for your consideration” at Oscar time, are ya? Well, withapologies to Dave Karger, let’s wager the kids zeroing in on theirparents’ wallets for a day at the movies couldn’t care less about “prestige.” Thegoofiness that has critics shaking their heads – Owen Gleiberman called Bedtime Stories “a dispirited, galumphing mess” on the way to giving it a D – may be exactly what its audience is after; call it Best Dispiriting, Galumphing Mess to Win Weekend Box Office Gold.

2. Marley & Me: $28 million
Jennifer Aniston has certainly done herpart to get this movie noticed, with news-making interviews and pictorials (EW,Vogue, a GQ cover you may have seen). It all adds up: Our favorite Friend; a dog; an easygoing Owen Wilson; promos that play up thecanine slapstick (“the worst dog in the world!” – aww, but look at thoseeyes…). What you get is a movie that hits the sweet spot for couples whowant to see a movie, peg Bedtime Stories as too dumband crowded with noisy, restless kids, and can’t quite bring themselves tospend hours watching Benjamin Button inch backwards toward the grave or Tom Cruisefail to kill Hitler.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: $21 million
Curiosity is running high, what with all the Oscar talk, and thepromise of seeing Brad Pitt as an elderly baby with a funny voice. (Funfact: Did you know he was once married to Marley & Me’s Jennifer Aniston? Pretty sureI read that somewhere…) Still, it’s a long movie about mortality – isthat what a large audience will want to escape to on their days off? Ifword of mouth from those who check it out is positive, it’sreasonable to think this could have a good run in the weeks tocome – some love from the Golden Globes in a couple of weeks wouldn’thurt – but for now, the hunch is this weekend’s going to Sandler and thedogs.

4. Valkyrie: $17 million
Speaking of things people might not want tothink about on the holidays, how about Nazis? Or Tom Cruise as abattle-scarred German officer? From a distance, it seemed like anotherpotential Wha? moment in the star’s off-the-rails run. And yet…now that it’s here, this doesn’t feel like box officepoison. It’s the only new feature at the multiplex that offers a hintof action, and the reviews have not been half bad (LisaSchwarzbaum gave it a B). Let’s see if Cruise can cash in on the good will he won by rolling the dice on Tropic Thunder.

5. Yes Man: $12 million
The Jim Carrey comedy won a wintry weekend that left a lot of the country housebound. Odds are itfills a niche for people looking for a comedy, any comedy; enough to keep it inthe upper reaches of the box office chart? Think positive…

ALSO OPENING WIDE:

The Spirit: $7 million
Comic-book fans have been waiting eagerly for theFrank Miller-directed adaptation of the Will Eisner classic. But withall the higher profile movies debuting on more screens, just who else is likely to gravitate to it? Comics fans will be there, but will big audiences look at what fans consider”stylish” and process it as “weird-looking”? With Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler,and Jennifer Aniston in the theaters next door, it may take more thanSamuel L. Jackson as the Octopus to spread this movie’s tentacles beyond its core.

More from EW:
10 Best Films of 2008: Lisa Schwarzbaum’s Picks
10 Best Films of 2008: Owen Gleiberman’s Picks 
10 Best Movies on DVD of 2008: Ken Tucker’s Picks