Jumpin’ Jack flash

Par 's 'School' goes to head of B.O. class

This article was updated at 4:27 p.m.

Paramount’s musical laffer “School of Rock” rolled to No. 1 this weekend, power-chording its way to an estimated $20.2 million in opening box office.

MGM’s Denzel Washington starrer “Out of Time” bowed in the runner-up position with an estimated $17 million. And Universal actioner “The Rundown” grabbed the bronze medal in its second frame on a 47% drop to $9.8 million.

Industrywide, the weekend repped a 16% downtick from the same frame a year ago, according to box office tracker Nielsen EDI. Year-to-date, B.O. is off 1% from a comparable portion of 2002.

Among the latest frame’s limited bows, Lions Gate’s gritty L.A. drama “Wonderland” grossed an estimated $90,000 from five engagements in L.A. and Gotham, a notable $18,000 per playdate. Pic expands to a dozen markets on Oct. 17.

And Miramax’s whimsical drama “The Station Agent” opened with an impressive $55,500 from two theaters in Gotham and one in L.A., an average $18,500 per venue. Tom McCarthy-penned and helmed pic travels to top 20 markets on Oct. 17.

Miramax’s wide-release black comedy “Duplex” had a tough soph session with a 54% drop to $2.1 million. Ten-day cume hit an estimated $7.8 million as pic tumbled from the B.O. top 10.

Disney’s femme magnet “Under the Tuscan Sun” fared better in its second weekend, as the Diane Lane starrer added 471 playdates for a total 1,697 and grossed $7.9 million in fourth place. Cume hit $21 million.

‘Lost’ goes wide

Focus Features’ well-reviewed platformer “Lost in Translation” found $4.3 million from 864 engagements, 376 more playdates than the prior week. Perf landed “Lost” in seventh place and raised its cume to $14.2 million through four frames, with the latest weekend marking pic’s first session in wide release.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, ThinkFilm’s Biblical drama “The Gospel of John” added one theater for a total 16 and grossed $106,000, or a solid $7,067 per venue with a $242,966 cume. Distrib’s bowing drama “The Event” did less well, grossing $18,461 from nine locations, or an average $2,051 per site.

IFC Films’ “Casa de los Babys” added 55 theaters for a total 63 and grossed $91,379, or $1,450 per location with a $189,585 cume.

And Sony Classics’ “My Life Without Me” held in seven locations to gross $31,725, an average $4,532 per site with an $89,561 cume.

Diverse ‘School’ aud

“School of Rock” was helped by positive word of mount generated by critics and sneak-preview auds, as well as promo stomping by topliner Jack Black.

“Everything sort of all came together,” Par distribution prexy Wayne Lewellen said.

Like Black, helmer Richard Linklater boasts a fervent, if young-skewing fan base, but exit demos show that the PG-13 rated “School” played broadly.

“School” auds were evenly split between males and femmes, with 52% of patrons under age 25.

“Out of Time,” a PG-13 rated suspenser helmed by Carl Franklin, drew auds comprised 46% of African Americans, with 56% of patrons femmes.

“We’re pleased,” MGM distribution topper Erik Lomis said.

“Time” got a big 3,000-plus bow based on Washington’s marquee appeal, Lomis said.

Looking to next week’s pre-Columbus Day frame, Friday wide openers include Artisan horror pic “House of the Dead,” Miramax’s Quentin Tarantino actioner “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” Universal’s adult laffer “Intolerable Cruelty” and MGM family laffer “Good Boy!” Warner Bros. unspools its Clint Eastwood drama “Mystic River” in limited release on Wednesday, with plans to expand wide at mid-month.

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