Weekend Box Office: Gridiron Gang Makes an Easy Touchdown ...

... but relatively few fans were in the stands to see it. It's hard to know what folks were showing up for with Gridiron Gang, the weekend's number-one flick: Was it the apparently endless appeal of big sweaty guys in tight pants chasing a small leather ball around on a field? Or was it the endlessly charming Rock, who continues to surprise by being so damn engaging even here, in a very familiar film that doesn't really deserve to have much of anything going for it? He chalks up his fifth number-one opening, though with a smallish $15 million take, Gang's -- and the Rock's -- weekend win is a halfhearted one. Laremy's predicted healing has not yet begun.

This past weekend's entire slate felt like Hollywood killing time till awards season, when the studios can safely start releasing all the Serious, Important, and, you know, Good films they've been holding back all year. The Black Dahlia, which made $10.3 million, didn't deserve even that pathetic a payday, it's such a godawful disaster. Everyone's Hero [read my review at FlickFilosopher.com], as pleasant as it may be, couldn't tempt moviegoers who've had enough of both animated and sports movies this year, and they gave it only $6.1 million. (Watch for it to do well on DVD, though -- if Fox is smart, they'll make sure it's out in time and cheap enough to get stuffed in stockings come Christmas Eve.) The Last Kiss and last week's holdover The Covenant [read my review at FlickFilosopher.com] were virtually tied at $4.7 million apiece, which both flicks should be more than grateful for.

Audiences know that Hollywood is watching the summer clock run out, and they're smart enough to save their pennies till November. Though let's see what happens next week, when the remake of All the King's Men finally hits the screen after many delays. As Vanity Fair suggests in this month's issue, if Sean Penn is screaming, it must be Oscar time.

(Box office numbers via Box Office Mojo.)

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MaryAnn Johanson
author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride
minder of FlickFilosopher.com