Football season was back in swing at the North American box office this weekend as Disney’s real-life pigskin drama "Invincible" scored a number-one opening by more than doubling the ticket sales of its nearest competitor. The rest of the films in the top ten were packed into a tight range and were separated by a mere $2.6M meaning chart positions could change when final numbers are released on Monday. The frame’s other newcomers — the raunchy comedy "Beerfest," the music-driven drama "Idlewild," and the kidpic "How to Eat Fried Worms" — all generated more modest grosses in their debuts. Overall, the marketplace slumped to levels typical of the last weekend of August.
Mark Wahlberg was the most valuable player this weekend as his new football pic "Invincible" easily beat all foes and grossed an estimated $17M over the weekend finishing in first place. Averaging a solid $5,838 from 2,917 theaters, the PG-rated pic tells the true story of a 30-year-old bartender who landed a spot on the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles. Disney set up a sizable marketing campaign with the NFL promoting "Invincible" during the current pre-season and it seemed to have paid off handsomely. Reviews were generally favorable for the feel-good drama.
Sony’s hit NASCAR comedy "Talladega Nights" stayed put in second place again with an estimated $8M in its fourth lap. The Will Ferrell smash dropped 42% and upped its cume to $127.7M making it the summer’s second biggest comedy.to date after Adam Sandler’s "Click" ($136M) which was also a Sony release. "Talladega" could race past "Click" by Labor Day.
Making its way up to the number three position was Fox Searchlight’s hit road comedy "Little Miss Sunshine" which more than doubled its theater count and grossed an estimated $7.5M from 1,430 sites. The R-rated pic averaged a solid $5,245 and boosted its cume to $23M. "Sunshine" has steadily grown over the past month into a pop culture phenomenon becoming the "it" movie of the moment and looks certain to charm its way past the $50M mark domestically in the weeks ahead.
Another R-rated laugher followed in fourth. The new Warner Bros. comedy "Beerfest" debuted with an estimated $6.5M from 2,964 playdates for a mild $2,193 average. The Broken Lizard concoction opened much like the comedy troupe’s 2002 hit "Super Troopers" which bowed to $6.2M over three days on its way to $18.5M. "Beerfest" tells of a group of American beer chuggers who must train and compete in a secret drinking tournament in Germany.
Yet another comedy followed with a similar estimate of $6.5M in ticket sales. Universal’s "Accepted" dropped only 35% and upped its ten-day total to a respectable $21.1M. Fellow sophomore "Snakes on a Plane" was an inch behind with an estimated $6.4M tumbling 58% in its second weekend. Total stands at $26.6M. Final grosses look to reach $36-39M each.
Universal’s music-filled drama "Idlewild" bowed in ninth place but generated the best average in the top ten. The OutKast pic grossed an estimated $5.9M from only 973 locations for a solid $6,055 average. Studio research showed that 55% of the audience was over age 30, 61% was female, and 82% was African American.
Rounding out the top ten was Paramount’s animated comedy "Barnyard" with an estimated $5.4M in its fourth weekend. Down only 28%, the PG-rated toon has taken in an encouraging $54.7M to date.
Debuting poorly just outside the top ten was New Line’s kidpic "How to Eat Fried Worms" with an estimated $4M from 1,870 sites for an average of only $2,112 per theater. Yari Film Group widened its period mystery "The Illusionist" and grossed an estimated $1.8M from just 144 theaters for a strong $12,688 per venue. Cume is $3.2M and the Edward Norton–Paul Giamatti drama will go national on Friday.
Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The summer juggernaut "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" enjoyed a seven-week run in the top ten, but dipped to an estimated $4M this weekend for a slim decline of only 23%. With a colossal $407.6M from North America alone, the Johnny Depp adventure surpassed "Spider-Man" ($403.7M in 2002) to claim the number six spot on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters. Chest looks to reach about $420M stateside. Worldwide, the "Pirates" sequel is closing in on an astounding one billion dollars in global box office.
The teen comedy "Material Girls" starring Hilary and Haylie Duff dropped by 50% to an estimated $2.3M in its sophomore session. The MGM title has collected just $8.5M in ten days and should end up with around $13M before finding a bigger audience on DVD. The horror flick "Pulse" grossed an estimated $1.7M, down 53%, for a total of $17.9M. A final tally of about $21M could result.
ThinkFilm’s drug-addicted teacher drama "Half Nelson" expanded from three to 21 theaters and grossed an estimated $210,000 for a strong $10,000 average. Cume is now $389,000. Fox Searchlight’s relationship film "Trust the Man" did not have as much luck during its expansion. The David Duchovny–Julianne Moore pic grossed an estimated $285,000 from 158 sites (up from 38 last weekend) and averaged a poor $1,804. Total is $541,000 with another widening up to 300 theaters set for Friday.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $75.8M which was off 2% from last year when "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" remained at number one with $16.3M; and down 4% from 2004 when "Hero" opened in the top spot with $18M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com