‘Gridiron Gang’ Muscles ‘The Covenant’ Out Of Box Office’s Top Spot

Real-life football tale opens at #1; 'The Black Dahlia' debuts at #2.

A week after a group of teens with supernatural powers kicked the football flick “Invincible” out of the #1 spot, the Rock helped pigskin players reclaim their title.

“Gridiron Gang” led the charge of new releases taking over the top half of the box-office top 10, bowing at #1 with $15 million, according to early estimates. The film, based on a true story, stars wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a probation officer in a detention center who transforms a group of teenage inmates into a football team to teach them self-respect (see ” ‘Gridiron Gang’ Story Squeezed Tears From The Rock” ).

“The Black Dahlia,” another film inspired by real events, opened at #2, earning more than $10.4 million. The film centers on one of Hollywood’s most notorious unsolved mysteries, in which 22-year-old aspiring actress Elizabeth Short was found brutally murdered in 1947. The Brian De Palma-directed crime drama based on a James Ellroy book stars Scarlett Johansson, Josh Hartnett, Hilary Swank and Mia Kirshner, who plays Short.

The more lighthearted family flick “Everyone’s Hero” debuted at #3. Featuring the voices of Whoopi Goldberg and William H. Macy, the animated film about a young Yankees fan’s journey to help Babe Ruth and his team with the World Series earned more than $6.2 million.

Wrapping up the new releases that made the top 10 is “The Last Kiss,” which took #4 with more than $4.7 million. Zach Braff stars as a man on the brink of his 30th birthday who struggles to come to terms with getting older as he learns his girlfriend is pregnant and he begins to fall for a younger girl.

With four new releases hitting theaters this weekend, last week’s #1 flick, “The Covenant,” dropped four spots to #5. The film about a group of prep-school teens with supernatural powers who face a crisis after a fellow student is murdered earned $4.7 million.

































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Also succumbing to the new releases was “Invincible,” which dropped from #3 to #6 with more than $3.9 million. The flick, which fell below the top half of the top 10 for the first time since debuting in theaters, stars Mark Wahlberg as a substitute teacher who goes out for open tryouts for the Philadelphia Eagles and makes the team (see “Mark Wahlberg Can Make Hits, But Can He Take Them? Actor Tries To Be ‘Invincible’ “ ).

Rounding out the box-office top 10 are “The Illusionist,” which falls from #6 to #7 with more than $3.8 million; “Little Miss Sunshine,” which drops from #7 to #8 with more than $3.4 million; “Hollywoodland,” which plummeted from #2 to #9 with more than $2.7 million; and “Crank,” which slid from #5 to #10 with $2.7 million.

Overall, ticket sales were down from the corresponding weekend last year.

Next week, look for “All the King’s Men,” “Jackass: Number Two” and “Bandidas” to debut on the box-office top 10.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Gridiron Gang,” “The Black Dahlia” and “The Last Kiss.”

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