A group of beer-swilling competitors and a pair of rappers tried their best to rule the box office this weekend, but an NFL hopeful proved “Invincible” when it came to ticket sales.
The top spot on the box-office top 10 belonged to the football film “Invincible,” which earned more than $17 million its first weekend in theaters, according to early estimates. Starring Mark Wahlberg and based on a true story, the movie centers on Vince Papale — a substitute teacher, part-time bartender and wannabe NFL player who showed up at open tryouts for the Philadelphia Eagles and made the team (see “Mark Wahlberg Can Make Hits, But Can He Take Them? Actor Tries To Be ’Invincible’ “ ).
There can only be one #1, but if Ricky Bobby can’t hold that title, he’s not going to relinquish #2. “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” held on to second place for a second week, earning $8 million its fourth weekend in theaters. Starring Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver who wins all the big races — until he faces some stiff international competition — the film has earned more than $127 million in the U.S. to date (see “Ferrell’s Shameless Nudity Overshadowed By Countless Plugs In ’Talladega’ “ ).
“Little Miss Sunshine” continues to climb the top 10, leaping from #7 to #3 with $7.5 million. The flick, which stars Steve Carrell, Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette, follows the Hoover family as they travel from New Mexico to Southern California to enter 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant (see ” ’Little Miss Sunshine’ Might Be This Summer’s Little-Movie-That-Could” ).
Bowing at #4 with $6.5 million is “Beerfest,” a comedy from the creators of “Super Troopers” about a pair of American brothers (Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske) who travel to Germany to fulfill their late grandfather’s wish of having his ashes spread at Oktoberfest. After being humiliated by their German cousins at a beer-drinking competition, the brothers plan to return the following year to win with their own team.
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Its main character might not be able to able to sustain a solid GPA, but “Accepted” managed to hang on to the #5 position for the second week in a row. The comedy, which follows a high school senior (Justin Long) who creates his own fake school after he’s rejected from every college he applies to, earned more than $6.4 million (see “Best Buds Justin Long, Jonah Hill Work Comedy-Duo Schtick In ’Accepted’ “ ).
After just one week in theaters — and months of pre-release buzz — “Snakes on a Plane” tumbled five notches from #1 to #6. The film about, well, snakes on a plane, earned $6.4 million (see “Why Snakes, Why Planes? Samuel L. Jackson Dissects His Cold-Blooded Phenomenon” ).
And while Outkast’s long-awaited “Idlewild” opened down at #9 with $5.8 million, the musical scored the weekend’s best per-screen average — playing in just 973 theaters and earning more than $6,000 per screen (see “Outkast’s Few Scenes Together In Film ’Just A Clever Way Of Not Doing The Obvious’ “ ). To put that in perspective, “Invincible” played in 2,900 theaters and earned more than $5,800 per screen and “Talladega Nights” played in 3,400 theaters and earned close to $2,400 per screen.
Rounding out the box-office top 10 are “World Trade Center,” which slid from #3 to #7 with more than $6.3 million; “Step Up,” which fell from #4 to #8 with more than $6.1 million; and “Barnyard: The Original Party Animals,” which fell from #6 to #10 with more than $5.4 million.
Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for “Crank,” “The Wicker Man” and “Crossover” to debut on the box-office top 10.
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