Feel-good Sports Movie Scores Touchdown
The Walt Disney Co., whose formula for turning out successful inspirational sports movies ranks right up there with its formula for turning out successful cartoons, saw its latest football drama Invincible become, well, invincible at the box office this weekend. The movie, which stars Mark Wahlberg in the role of a real-life Philadelphia teacher and bartender who made the 1976 Eagles' roster in 1976, grossed an estimated $17 million, well above analysts' estimates. The Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights remained in second place, grossing about $8 million. The real surprise was Little Miss Sunshine, which finished third with $7.5 million as it moved into 1,430 theaters after a slow, "platform" release over the past three weeks. Taking fourth place was the critically lambasted Beerfest, which failed to reach even the low expectations of most analysts, as it debuted with just $6.5 million. Spiraling down to sixth place from the top spot a week ago was Snakes on a Plane, which dropped 58 percent to gross $6.4 million. Coming in ninth was the new musical Idlewild. Although it grossed an estimated $5.9 million, it played in just 973 theaters and its per-theater average of $6,064 was the highest among films in general release. The kids' flick How to Eat Fried Worms finished out of the top ten with only $4.1 million.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Invincible, $17 million; 2. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, $8 million; 3. Little Miss Sunshine, $7.5 million; 4 Beerfest, $6.5 million; 4 (tie). Accepted, $6.5 million; 6. Snakes on a Plane, $6.4 million; 7. World Trade Center, $6.39 million; 8. Step Up, $6.2 million; 9. Idlewild, $5.9 million; 10. Barnyard, $5.4 million.