Proving age is hardly a factor at the American box office, Clint Eastwood’s drama ‘Gran Torino’ expanded to an eye-popping $9.6 million on Friday.  The film had previously grossed an impressive $11 million in only 84 days since it debuted Dec. 12, but no one in the industry really believed it could do these types of numbers.

Proving Eastwood’s magic is almost unstoppable in his later years, “Torino” has a rumored budget of just $25 million and only completed production this past September.  It was seen as a boxoffice wildcard because Eastwood was the only recognizable name in the picture.  Now, the drama will have anywhere from $38-42 million in the bank after this weekend and will be well on its way to becoming a cash cow for Warner Bros.  The question is whether the studio missed out on making “Torino” a serious Oscar Best Picture contender by waiting to go wide only a few days before Academy member ballots are due.  No doubt, that speculation will persist until nominations are announced on Jan. 22.

Battling it out for the no. 2 position is David S. Goyer’s horror flick “The Unborn” and the Kate Hudson/Anne Hathaway romantic comedy “Bride Wars.”  Jumping out of the gate with $8.2 million, the Odette Yustman starrer should finish with anywhere between $19-21 million once word of mouth settles in on the critically panned picture. 

“Wars” took in an estimated $8 million on Friday which represents the biggest opening day gross for Kate Hudson.  The only detriment to the film’s weekend total is the Golden Globes show on Sunday night which shares its key female demo and may siphon away some of its audience.  Still, the Fox release should find itself with $20-22 million this weekend similarly to last year’s “27 Dresses.” Like that rom com, “Wars” should kick Fox’s year off nicely eventually grossing between $65-80 million.

Coming in fourth was another Fox hit, “Marley & Me.”  The Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson blockbuster was down 67% from last weekend with $3.2 million, but a stellar cum of $115.6 million to date.  Plus, Aniston can take some personal satisfaction as she continues to beat her ex-husband at the box office as Brad Pitt’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” followed with another $2.9 million to reach $87.8 million.  The Paramount Pictures release should have a long shelf life though after it’s receives a slew of expected Oscar nominations.

Here is the Friday’s top five according to Variety. Look for the final results tomorrow.

1. “Gran Torino,” $9.6 million, $20.6 million to date
2. “The Unborn,” $8.2 million
3. “Bride Wars,” $8 million
4. “Marley & Me,” $3.2 million, $115.6 million to date
5. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” $2.9 million, $87.8 million to date