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."