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Jennifer Aniston Wallops Brad at Box Office
December 29, 2008

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Jennifer Aniston may have settled a score with ex Brad Pitt in the sweetest of ways.

Aniston’s family-friendly flick, “Marley and Me,” pulled in a whopping $51.6 million for the extended Christmas weekend.

Meanwhile, Pitt’s “Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” trailed significantly with a $39 million take, perhaps partly because of its long run time of two hours and 45 minutes.

As many have come to expect, Hollywood mavens severely underestimated the “Marley” movie appeal.

At a time when dim Oscar-seeking stuff keeps creeping onto the screen, even marketing and PR execs sometimes forget that the lion’s share of profit in Tinseltown comes from family-friendly films, especially when they feature a loveable pooch.

In box-office lingo, families and a holiday flick go together like Christmas and St. Nick.

Two words that don’t go together anymore are Disney and “Narnia.”

Disney has announced that the studio will not co-finance the third installment of Walden Media's “Chronicles of Narnia” franchise, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

Many Hollywood insiders believe that Disney dropped the project because of the lower-than-expected box-office take for the second “Narnia” flick, “Prince Caspian.”

The first “Narnia” piled up $745 million internationally, while “Caspian” raked in only $419 million.

Although the economic downturn is making Disney execs a tad more timid, they’re partly responsible for the skimpier “Caspian” numbers.

Unlike the first “Narnia,” which had a holiday release, the sequel came out in the spring, and it was up against superhero summer fare like “Iron Man” and “Indiana Jones.” Disney tried to market it as an action flick, with limited success.

Thankfully, Walden remains committed to C.S. Lewis’ remaining books.

And if Fox is as clever as its name, it’ll jump into Disney’s old spot, snag a profit, and hoist entertainment content higher at the same time.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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