By now, it’s clear to everyone that Fox’s Marley And Me is a massive success. It has already earned $92 million, and by the end of the weekend it will be sitting pretty with almost $110 million. At this point, $175 million seems well within reach. Many, including myself, have hailed this as a major comeback for Jennifer Aniston, who in recent years has suffered an image crisis, fueled primarily by gossip blogger Perez Hilton. However, for all of the praise that’s been heaped upon Aniston, there are huge hordes of haters who refuse to give the actress any credit, instead citing the titular dog’s cute-factor as the major drawing power of Marley And Me. Well, despite their excessively standoffish behavior, the haters actually got me thinking. Who should get the credit for Marley And Me‘s success? Was it the dog, Aniston, or something else completely?
To answer this question, I looked at the box office history of movies with dogs as a main character. Unfortunately, there is no available box office information for Disney’s 1957 film Old Yeller, which lives on as the most famous dog movie of all time, but with the available statistics, here are the Top 20 Dog Movies of all time.
|#||Movie Title||Studio||Total Gross||Release Date|
|2||101 Dalmations||Disney||$136 million||1996|
|3||Cats & Dogs||WB||$93 million||2001|
|4||Beverly Hills Chihuahua||Disney||$93 million||2008|
|5||Marley And Me||Fox||$92 million||2008|
|7||Eight Below||Disney||$81 million||2006|
|8||Snow Dogs||Disney||$81 million||2002|
|9||Turner & Hooch||Disney||$71 million||1989|
|10||102 Dalmations||Disney||$67 million||2000|
|11||The Shaggy Dog||Disney||$61 million||2006|
|13||Beethoven’s 2nd||Universal||$53 million||1993|
The Incredible Journey
|18||Good Boy!||MGM||$37 million||2003|
|19||White Fang||Disney||$34 million||1991|
|20||My Dog Skip||WB||$34 million||2000|
Other than the fact that Disney really likes to make dog movies, what do these results tell us? Well, they tell us that dog movies aren’t really all that popular. They do well enough, and many of the grosses are solid, but they’re hardly breaking any box office records. (You should keep in mind that these are the top 20, and there are many more dog movies that are not even on the list.) The results have me asking, if dogs are really such a draw to the theaters, why have only two dog movies ever broken $100 million? After ten days, Marley And Me already sits at number five, and it will undoubtedly top this chart by the end of its run, but based on box office history, we simply can’t attribute all that success to the presence of a dog in the movie. Clearly, pooches do have some drawing power, but not enough to pull in the kind of numbers that Marley And Me is seeing. So, if it’s not the puppy, who should get the credit?
Jennifer Aniston. From a box office perspective, that’s the answer that makes the most sense to me, because she has all the makings of a real box office star. I truly don’t understand why the entertainment media decided that they should dislike her. Give the woman some love! She was on one of the most popular television shows of all time, she’s a total babe, and she already has some box office success under her belt with Bruce Almighty ($242 million), Along Came Polly ($88 million), and The Break Up ($118 million). Of course, one could point to The Good Girl ($24 million), Derailed ($36 million), or Rumor Has It ($42 million) as signs of her inconsistency, but I think that these are simply examples of the Sandler-Effect, which is when an actor plays outside his/her main genre and sees limited box office results. Clearly, she’s an actress that audiences prefer to see opposite a leading man in comedies, and so Marley And Me was a wise choice of role. Thus, because of her proven marketability, and the so-so popularity of dogs, I’m saying that Jennifer Aniston deserves more credit than Marley. Q.E.D.
Plus, she starred in Office Space! Come on, haters! What gives?!