The movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still” grabbed the number one slot at the box office for the week ending December 14, but the numbers otherwise showed generally sluggish ticket sales, according to studio estimates from box office tracking firm Nielsen EDI and A remake of an old sci-fi classic about an alien invasion, the movie stars Keanu Reeves and earned $31 million its first week out, easily trouncing last week’s winner “Four Christmases.”

The Reese Witherspoon/Vince Vaughn holiday comedy “Four Christmases” generated $13.3 million, notching it down to second after two weeks in first place. Teen vampire saga “Twilight” grabbed $8 million, ensuring its sequel will be made as it passed the $150 million mark. The second installment, “New Moon,” is expected in late 2009 or early 2010.

Disney’s animated family film “Bolt” took in $7.5 million while Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia” creeped along at $4.3 million. Gus Van Sant’s “Milk,” starring Sean Penn, landed at No. 9 with $2.6 million in a limited release; Penn received a Best Actor nod from the Golden Globe Awards and the film should receive a further bump from that.

All in all, fewer people chose going to any film at all last weekend, as the total gross for the top 10 films fell below 2007’s comparable weekend for the first time in weeks. Final numbers are released later on Monday.

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Box Office Grosses
Week Ending December 14, 2008

Rank Title Weekend Total Gross
1 The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) $31M $31M
2 Four Christmases (2008) $13.3M $88M
3 Twilight (2008/I) $8.01M $150M
4 Bolt (2008) $7.51M $88.9M
5 Australia (2008) $4.29M $37.9M
6 Quantum of Solace (2008) $3.8M $158M
7 Nothing Like the Holidays (2008) $3.5M $3.5M
8 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) $3.25M $170M
9 Milk (2008) $2.64M $7.63M
10 Transporter 3 (2008) $2.25M $29.3M