SUNDAY AM: Despite winter storms, the post holiday climate proved favorable for movie openers this weekend. Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino finally went wide into 2,808 theaters in its 5th week of release, and the actor/director showed he can make not just an Oscar-buzzed film but also a wildly popular offering. His Warner Bros pic made $9.6M million Friday and $12M Saturday, so it should end Sunday with close to $29M which would make this double the weekend debut of his biggest hits. Its new cume is nearly $40M. The No. 2 and No. 3 pics were both horror films. Fox should be ashamed of itself for making Bride Wars, as well as Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson (also a producer) for starring in such a sexist piece of nonsense. (Feel free to disagree. But you’re wrong.) The movie, which pits two BFFs against each other because their weddings are scheduled on the same day, opened to $8M from 3,226 venues Friday and $8.4M Saturday for what will be a $21.5M weekend. And Rogue Pictures/Universal’s scarer The Unborn playing in 2,356 runs debuted with $8.2M Friday and $7.6M Saturday for a $21.1M weekend. Studio insiders claim The Unborn‘s negative cost was only $16M. TriStar/Sony’s African-American melodrama Not Easily Broken adapted from the book by renowned pastor T.D. Jakes managed to come in #8 despite only 724 plays with a solid $2 million Friday and $2.2M Saturday for a $5.6M weekend. The studio claims the film was produced for $5M and earned back more than its negative cost in its first three days.

The rest of the Top 10 had few surprises:
4. Marley And Me (Fox), 3,478 Locations, $11.3M weekend, $123.7M cume
5. Benjamin Button (Paramount), 2,947 Locations, $9.4M weekend, $94.3M cume
6. Bedtime Stories (Disney), 3,511 Locations, $9M weekend, $97.6M cume
7. Valkyrie (MGM/UA), 2838 Locations, $6.6M weekend, $71.5M cume
9. Yes Man (Warner Bros), 2,955 Locations, $6.1M weekend, $89.3M cume
10. Seven Pounds (Sony), 2,456 Locations, $3.9M weekend, $66.8M cume

Other Oscar-Touted Films…
Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), 601 Locations, $3.7M weekend, $34M cume
Doubt (Miramax), 1,287 Locations, $2.4M weekend, $22.9M cume
Milk (Focus), 295 Locations, $1.3M weekend, Cume $19.1M cume
The Reader (Weinstein Co), 507 Locations, $1.3M weekend, $5.4M cume
Frost/Nixon (Imagine/Universal), 205 Locations, $912K weekend, $7.7M cume
Revolutionary Road (Par Vantage), 135 Locations, $1.4M weekend, $3.1M cume
The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight), 60 Locations, $873K weekend, cume $2.8M
Defiance (Paramount Vantage), 2 Locations, $66K weekend, $307K cume

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For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.