Dog tale is filmdom's top dog

The movies went to the dogs on Christmas Day, with a record-breaking box-office turn by

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Marley & Me

, an adaptation of former Inquirer columnist

John Grogan

's heartwarming tale.

The dog-sploitation flick, which stars

Jennifer Aniston

and

Owen Wilson

, grossed $14.8 mil, the highest one-day total ever for a film opening on Christmas.

Jen's ex-husband,

Brad Pitt

, wasn't far behind with his new picture,

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

, which had the second-highest Christmas opening ever with $11.8 mil, reports Variety.

Adam Sandler

's

Bedtime Stories

made $10.5 mil, while

Tom Cruise

's World War II epic

Valkyrie

, which has been savaged by some critics, grossed $8.5 mil.

Stars pay tribute to Pinter

Stars continue to pay tribute to playwright and activist

Harold Pinter

, who died Wednesday of cancer at 78.

Glenda Jackson,

the actress-turned-politician, told the BBC that the Nobel winner's death was "a great loss not only to the theater but . . . also a great loss to people who fight for human rights."

Brit thesp Sir

Michael Gambon

told London's the Guardian: "He was our God, Harold Pinter, for actors." And Pinter's widow, Lady

Antonia Fraser

, told the BBC: "He was a great and it was a privilege to live with him for over 33 years."

'Arrested Development' redux

Arrested Development

star

Will Arnett

tells Entertainment Weekly he is eager to get on board a big-screen adaptation of his acclaimed show, which was canceled in '06.

"It's been so long now, we almost have to do it. It's like we have to finish the joke," he says. The film has yet to get a firm green light, but that doesn't stop Arnett from making a quip about its release date: "I'm sure I'm not speaking out of turn when I say Christmas Day '09."

Men & women of admiration

Onetime rivals

Barack Obama

and

Hillary Rodham Clinton

are this year's most admired man and woman. The USA Today/Gallup Poll of 1,008 adults found that 32 percent of Americans admire the president-elect, who was the only man to rack up double digits.

President Bush

is at No. 2 with 5 percent, while defeated GOP presidential candidate

John McCain

is third with 3 percent.

Pope Benedict XVI

,

Billy Graham

, and former President

Bill Clinton

got 2 percent each. (Not much of a distinction; the poll has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.)

Hillary leads the women with 20 percent, followed by

Sarah Palin

(11 percent),

Oprah Winfrey

(8 percent),

Condoleezza Rice

(7 percent) and

Michelle Obama

(3 percent).

Kanye's latest talent

Self-proclaimed genius

Kanye West

, who says he wants to apply his supernatural talents to fashion design, says he has the acumen to design an outfit for

Barack Obama

. London's inimitable source of truth, the Sun, quotes Kanye as saying: "I could design something for Obama to go to the club in. But I don't know if I'm ready for suits and stuff." No word on whether Obama has OKd an "In Da Club" suit.

She loves turtles

That'd be

Sunday Rose Kidman Urban

, the 5-month-old daughter of actress

Nicole Kidman

and country crooner

Keith Urban

, who all spent a low-key Christmas at home - their first Christmas in Nashville.

Kidman recently told People she planned to give Sunday Rose "a lot of hugs and kisses and Christmas carols" - plus a turtle puppet.

Brad: I love Angie!

In probably his

1,200th

interview this month about the merits of his and

Angelina Jolie

's Grand Amour,

Brad Pitt

shares with the L.A. Times a Zen koan worthy of the greatest sages in history. Brad says there's no love without loss, no triumph without tragedy, no day without night. Brad says love

also

is a tragedy "in the sense that any love involves loss, and that's the risk you take. And the greater the love, the greater the loss. I certainly feel that now with the woman I'm with, and the children that I have. But whatever the course may be, this time together is extraordinary."

This column contains information

from Inquirer wire services.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.