5. Marley and Me
Year released: 2008
Christmas Day take: $14.4 million
Puppies, Florida, Jennifer Aniston: Did Fox (NWS) just pin a bunch of Post-It notes of "Things Key Demographics Like" to a cork board and whip darts at it?
This take on former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan's memoir about his family's ill-behaved dog hit all the right buttons the year it was released and bested a crowded field that included Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories, Tom Cruise's Valkyrie and Brad Pitt's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button when it opened on Christmas Day. Considering this film ends in just about the worst way a PG film featuring a family pet can, that big payday is just as surprising four years later.