'Gran Torino' cruises to No. 1

Jan. 11, 2009 at 2:38 PM

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Clint Eastwood drove his "Gran Torino" to the top of the U.S. theater chart this weekend, Box Office Mojo said Sunday.

While "Gran Torino" was pushed out in limited showings five weeks ago, Eastwood's story about a racist Korean War veteran whose neighborhood has become home to Hmong immigrants and afflicted with gang-bangers really took off this weekend. Its nationwide release earned it an estimated $29.03 million in ticket sales that pushed it up from 14th place to No. 1.

Two new movies, "Bride Wars," a comedy starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, and "The Unborn," a horror thriller written and directed by David S. Goyer, were Nos. 2-3, respectively. "Bride Wars" took in an estimated $21.5 million and "The Unborn" $21.1 million.

"Marley and Me," which was the top movie the previous two weeks, fell to No. 4 with $11.35 million in gate receipts, followed by "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with $9.45 million.

Filling out the Top 10 were "Bedtime Stories," $8.55 million; "Valkyrie," $6.66 million; "Yes Man," $6.16 million; another new offering, "Not Easily Broken," a drama featuring Morris Chestnut and Taraji P. Henson, $5.6 million; and "Seven Pounds, $3.9 million.

Gone from the top tier were "The Tale of Despereaux," "Doubt," "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Slumdog Millionaire."

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