Weekend Predictions (Dec. 25 to Dec. 28, 2008): 'Bedtime Stories,' 'Marley and Me,' 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' 'Valkyrie' and 'The Spirit'

Featured Stories - on December 24, 2008 by Phil Contrino

Five new films are opening in wide release on Christmas Day. Will there be enough room at the box office for all of them?

Audiences will have plenty of choices at their local movie theatres this weekend.

Five new films are opening in wide release on Christmas Day, which means that it will be an extremely competitive frame.

The favorite to emerge as #1 is Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories. Sandler's last effort, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, grossed a staggering $38 million domestically during its opening frame which means that the actor is still a very strong box office draw. Considering that the fantasy elements in Stories will give it a broader appeal among family audiences, it should perform just as well as Zohan despite facing strong competition. Expect Bedtime Stories to bring in as much as $42 million during the Thursday-to-Sunday period.

Marley and Me should also do very well among family audiences as well as crucial female demographics. The fact that it is based on a best-selling novel gives it something of an advantage over the other new films. Marley should finish in second place this weekend with around $24 million from Thursday to Sunday.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will be a strong choice among adult demographics. Audiences are now ready for the kind of films that draw Oscar attention and Button is certainly one of them. Its lengthy running time may hurt it slightly, but Button should bring in at least $20 million during the Thursday-to-Sunday period.

Valkyrie will scoop up adult audiences that aren't interested in Button. Even though the film has some negative buzz attached to it, the advertising blitz has been strong. Expect Valkyrie to make $15 million during the holiday weekend.

The Spirit is most likely going to be the least successful of all the new releases. Director Frank Miller's film will have to settle for male audiences that aren't enticed by Stories. Expect the highly stylized film to bring in around $11 million from Thursday to Sunday.

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