Marmaduke Barks Up the Box Office Tree

The big dog’s day at the movies has finally arrived with the release this weekend of Marmaduke in more than 3,200 cinemas.

Based on the classic comic panel and strip by Brad Anderson, the hybrid live action/CGI movie features the voice of Owen Wilson as the titular Great Dane. The character, whose newspaper comic has been running continuously since 1954, was previously adapted to animation by Ruby-Spears for a series of short segments on an animated Heathcliff series in the 1980s. The family pic is directed by Tom Dey (Failure to Launch) and features visual effects work by CIS Vancouver, Cinesite, Hydraulx and Rhythm & Hues.

Also opening this week are the sci-fi horror film Splice, at an estimated 2,500 cinemas; the action comedy Killers, starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, in more than 2,800 theaters; and the youth comedy Get Him to the Greek, with Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, at about 2,700 theaters.

All will face off against Shrek Forever After, which will be in the hunt for its third consecutive weekend box office crown. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time enters its second weekend, with longer holdovers such as Iron Man 2 and DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon also is still playing.