1. Gridiron Gang - $15M - $15M
2. The Black Dahlia - $10.4M - $10.4M
3. Everyone's Hero - $6.15M - $6.15M
4. The Last Kiss - $4.7M - $4.7M
5. The Covenant - $4.7M - $15.7M
6. Invincible - $3.9M - $50.9M
7. The Illusionist - $3.75M - $23.3M
8. Little Miss Sunshine - $3.35M - $46.4M
9. Hollywoodland - $2.74M - $10.5M
10. Crank - $2.7M - $24.4M
It's all change this week with four new entries slotting into the top four spots. Gridiron Gang, a true life American football drama, comes just weeks after Invincible. Facing more competition this weekend than the Marky Mark movie did, it opened just below Invincible's opening weekend take. While not opening as well as The Rundown, it did fall in line with his two previous movies (Doom - $15.3M and Walking Tall $15.5M). Like Invincible, the film faced increased competition from the actual football season starting.
The much-hyped Brian De Palma movie The Black Dahlia opened in second place with a slightly disappointing $10M weekend haul. Being billed as a serious adult orientated period drama, the film might have benefited from opening later in the year like the similar L.A Confidential. The movie may not have the legs to stay in the charts to make up that big budget, especially with another wealth of new releases next weekend to face off against.
Ignoring Femme Fatale, which was hardly released in the US, this is the lowest weekend for a De Palma film since Carlito's Way. Unlike the aforementioned L.A Confidential, Dahlia received a number of mixed reviews and may see a quick exit from the charts, which would be a real shame - intelligent adult dramas can be few and far between.
Christopher Reeve started work on Everybody's Hero before his death. His wife Dana then took over the work her husband had started, only to succumb to cancer earlier this year. The movie was finished over the summer and sadly released without much fanfare in an already crowded September, the studio perhaps figuring that it would have the under 8 market to itself. The movie didn't have the appeal or merchandising of a Pixar movie and was lost against the bigger movies, something that won't change next weekend.
Another movie receiving very little pre-release hype is the Zach Braff comedy drama The Last Kiss. Released on 1300 screens, the movie struggled to $4.3M. This is the kind of movie that could have benefited from a smaller initial release to build up any potential word of mouth (in place of costly TV spots etc) and then expand as the success grew. Unlike Braff's Garden State, this movie won't have chance to find fans in the next few weeks as those 1300 screens are taken up by more easily marketed fodder.
The Covenant drops 46%, which would have been a good 2nd weekend drop at most times, except it had such a poor first weekend (as did everything else) that 46% of an already low total isn't good. Pretty much anyone who wanted to see the movie has already done so. It'll probably make DVD before christmas where it may make enough to ensure a straight to DVD sequel (the movie was made cheaply with next to no 'stars').
Invincible crosses the $50M mark this weekend but like Gridiron Gang, has lost its key market to live football. Expect it to have another weekend in the top ten and finish around $60M, comparable to similar movies in the genre (Radio - $52M, Varsity Blues - $52M & Friday Night Lights - $61M)
Two smaller movies are next on the charts, both having already peaked a couple of weekends back. Out of the two, Little Miss Sunshine has performed the strongest (not to mention being the most profitable) while The Illusionist has been carefully carving out its own niche in what is a tougher market, the adult drama/thriller. Both movies have been well reviewed and been aided by strong word of mouth.
Like The Covenant, Hollywoodland had a pretty decent percentage drop this weekend but was hampered by new releases and limited subject appeal. Will the movie be remembered at Oscar time after success in Venice? One of the biggest placement drops in recent memory, the film will end up with around $17M by the end of its theatrical run.
Finally, Crank rounds out the top ten. The movie has currently taken twice its production budget and still has to open in a number of foreign markets. After the success of this & the Transporter series, September could become Statham Month.