- Marley & Me box office: David Frankel’s dog movie starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston is outperforming costly star vehicles for the likes of Adam Sandler (Bedtime Stories), Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Tom Cruise (Valkyrie).
Marley & Me box office: Sentimental dog movie far outperforms Adam Sandler comedy, Brad Pitt fantasy & Tom Cruise WWII drama
Dec. 26–28 weekend box office: The fall season in the Northern Hemisphere has come to an end. In fact, Christmas itself has come and gone, bringing joy to several movies – and sorrow to several others – that opened in the North American (U.S. and Canada only) market in late December.
The biggest joy recipient of all?
A sentimental dog movie that, with $14.6 million, boasted the second biggest Christmas Day gross ever* (not accounting for inflation) and that has gone on to top the post-Christmas box office chart, far outgrossing pricy star vehicles for Adam Sandler (Bedtime Stories), Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Tom Cruise (Valkyrie).
Canine movie of the year
On the heels of the canine-centered fall releases Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Bolt, 20th Century Fox’s Marley & Me – Marley is a Labrador retriever, Me is Owen Wilson – has turned out to be this holiday season’s indisputable top dog (apologies) in the domestic market.
According to final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com, the real-life-inspired comedy-drama directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) and costarring Jennifer Aniston earned an impressive $36.4 million this past (post-Christmas) weekend. That’s nearly $10 million more than its nearest competitor, Bedtimes Stories. (See further below.)
Marley & Me’s total after four days: $50.7 million. Budget: $60 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).
Besides Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, and the 22 dogs that played Marley, the Marley & Me cast includes Eric Dane, Haley Hudson, Haley Bennett, Ann Dowd, veteran Academy Award winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006) and veteran nominee Kathleen Turner (Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986).
Update: The Jennifer Aniston-Owen Wilson dog movie Marley & Me ultimately collected $143.1 million domestically and $112.6 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $255.7 million – surely more than enough to have earned Fox some solid profits.
Also of note, Marley & Me’s final domestic box office gross was superior to that of Bedtime Stories, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Valkyrie (more on the latter two titles), and to that of fellow dog movies Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($94.5 million) and Bolt ($114.1 million).
Marley & Me’s top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($23.3 million), Germany ($8.5 million), Japan ($7.5 million), Australia ($7 million), Italy ($6.7 million), France ($6.3 million), and Brazil ($6.3 million).
Adam Sandler star vehicle Bedtime Stories has below-par debut
At no. 2 this past weekend, Walt Disney Pictures’ $80 million adventure/fantasy comedy Bedtime Stories, with Adam Sandler at the head of an extensive name cast, brought in $27.5 million, reaching a more modest than expected $38 million cume after four days.
For comparison’s sake: Over the course of non-extended opening weekends, Sandler’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry debuted with 34.2 million, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan with $38.5 million, and Click with $40 million.
Also in the Bedtime Stories cast: Keri Russell, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Laura Ann Kesling, Guy Pearce, Aisha Tyler, Richard Griffiths, Teresa Palmer, Lucy Lawless, Courteney Cox, Russell Brand, Jonathan Pryce, and Kathryn Joosten. Adam Shankman directed.
Solid – but not quite profitable – global take
Update: Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories ultimately collected $110.1 million domestically and $102.8 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $212.9 million. That’s a solid figure, but not enough for the $80 million production to break even at the box office.
Bedtimes Stories’ top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($12.9 million), Australia ($10.6 million), Germany ($8.9 million), Mexico ($8.8 million), and Russia/CIS ($8.5 million).
“Marley & Me Box Office: Sandler + Pitt + Cruise Trail Dog” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Marley & Me Box Office: Sandler + Pitt + Cruise Trail Dog” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Marley & Me, Bedtime Stories, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Owen Wilson Marley & Me movie image: 20th Century Fox.
Adam Sandler Bedtime Stories movie image: Tracy Bennett | Walt Disney Pictures.
“Marley & Me Box Office: Sandler + Pitt + Cruise Trail Dog” last updated in October 2023.