Black, a relative newcomer to lead roles, edged established star DENZEL WASHINGTON, whose film Out of Time debuted at second place with $17 million (GBP10.6 million) - even though School of Rock opened in fewer theatres. Playing in 2,614 cinemas, School of Rock averaged $7,728 (GBP4,830) per theatre, compared to a $5,527 (GBP3,453) average in 3,076 film houses for Out of Time.
PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, president of box-office tracker EXHIBITOR RELATIONS, says, "I think it has more to do with the subject matter than the stars. School of Rock has a younger, school-age appeal. Black's like a big kid, like an ADAM SANDLER-type persona. Irreverent, funny, bucks the establishment. That brings in younger audiences."
The Rock's action comedy THE RUNDOWN, the previous weekend's top movie, slipped to third place with $9.8 million (GBP6.1 million), lifting its 10-day total to $32.7 million (GBP20.4 million). Under The Tuscan Sun and SECONDHAND LIONS round out the top five with $7.9 million and $5.4 million respectively.