SUNDAY UPDATE: U.S. moviegoers made sports films #1 and #2 at the box office this weekend. There’s nothing more predictable, as the NFL returns to television, than a movie about a down-on-his-luck guy who attempts an against-the-odds shot at making a pro football team. So I’m told Disney’s formulaic Invincible starring Mark Wahlberg opened in 2,917 theaters with so-so numbers that were still better than expected — earning $5.4 million Friday but up 30% Saturday with $6.7 million so that makes for a $17.2 mil weekend. (Weekend figures include Sunday estimates.) The Warner Bros’ lame comedy Beerfest staggered into 2,964 theaters Friday with just $2.7 mil, and -13% less for $2.2 mil Saturday, for what is a weak $6.7 mil opening — extending that studio’s cold streak this very hot summer. Meanwhile, Warner Communications’ sister studio, New Line, continues to be embarrassed by the utter collapse of Snakes on a Plane, down an ugly 72% its second weekend for what is only a $6.1 mil weekend. And, to top it off, New Line’s new entry How to Eat Fried Worms can’t even wiggle its way into the top 10, earning on Friday just $1.3 mil for what’s only a $4.1 mil weekend. But Sony’s hot comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby finished No. 2 by revving another $2.4 mil Friday and $3.3 mil Saturday for an $8 mil weekend. The biggest surprise was No. 3, Fox Searchlight’s Little Miss Sunshine, one of the best-reviewed movies of the summer. After lighting up with $2 mil Friday and $3.0 mil Saturday, it’s posting a $7.2 mil weekend. Universal’s Accepted did $2.1 mil Friday and another $2.5 Saturday to finish up $6.5 mil for the Fri-Sat-Sun.
Meanwhile, all of Hollywood had their eyes on the box office of popular hip hop group Outkast’s Idlewild this weekend since, historically, musicians who try to crossover into film rarely have luck — although rap and hip hop artists have had a better time of it than most. Playing in just 973 theaters, the Universal movie did $2.1 mil Friday and $2.2 mil Saturday which puts its weekend opening total at $5.9 mil. But its per-screen average was a jazzy $6,055 despite the mixed reviews. And, in case you were wondering, Paramount’s World Trade Center did $1.7 mil Friday and $2.6 mil Saturday adding about $6.2 mil for the weekend which finally puts the controversial Oliver Stone film over the $50 mil mark.