Mouse's 'Invincible' scores $17 million

“Invincible,” the Disney football drama, ran up the score on a slow late summer weekend, more than doubling its closest competitor at the box office.

The only pic to even break into the teens, “Invincible” took in a solid $17 million for the weekend. Last week’s top film, “Snakes on a Plane,” lost significant altitude, and the week’s other rookies, “Beerfest” and “How to Eat Fried Worms,” saw tepid openings. “Idlewild” did decent biz on fewer than 1,000 plays.

Indie comedy “Little Miss Sunshine” performed solidly in its first frame in wide release, coming in at No. 3 with $7.5 million. Pic was up 34% from last week.

Total frame was up 3% from the similarly slow one a year ago, but was in a virtual tie with the May 12 frame (when “Poseidon” opened) for the lowest-grossing weekend of 2006, according to Nielsen EDI.

“Invincible’s” bow was a little better than that of the Mouse House’s last historical sports drama, “Glory Road,” which opened to $16.9 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Day frame and went on to cume $42 million. Mark Wahlberg starrer “Invincible” grossed $5,838 per play at 2,917 theaters.

In entering its second month of release, “Little Miss Sunshine” went to 1,430 playdates, up from 691. While it did relatively well in new, mostly suburban markets, “Sunshine” continues to perform best in cities. It fell only 6% in theaters where it played last weekend.

“The holding power of this film is phenomenal,” noted Fox Searchlight chief operating officer Steve Gilula.

The Fox Searchlight Sundance pickup averaged $5,245 at 1,430 and has cumed $23 million.

Not too many moviegoers got drunk on “Beerfest,” as Warner’s young male-skewing comedy opened to just $6.5 million. That’s virtually even with the opening of “Super Troopers, the first pic from comedy troupe Broken Lizard, even though that pic opened at just 1,780 theaters in 2002.

“Beerfest” had a weak per-play average of just $2,193 at 2,964 locations.

New Line and Walden’s “How to Eat Fried Worms” also failed to dig up much business, in line with tracking. Kidlit adaptation didn’t even break into the top 10, grossing a very soft $4.1 million at 1,870 playdates. Average take was $2,166.

Bow is better than that of the last New Line/Walden collaboration, “Hoot,” which opened to $3.4 million in May.

Universal’s Outkast musical “Idlewild” did OK in a modest wide release, grossing $5.9 million at 973 theaters, giving it a per-play take of $6,055. Atlanta-set pic did particularly well in the South, and more than 80% of auds were African-American.

“Snakes on a Plane” isn’t showing much staying power after its disappointing bow. New Line’s much-hyped thriller dropped 58% in its second weekend, grossing $6.4 million to bring cume to $26.5 million.

“Accepted” apparently had much better word of mouth. U’s comedy fell just 35%, grossing $6.5 million in its second frame and upping cume to $21.1 million.

“Talladega Nights” continues to decelerate slowly. Will Ferrell comedy dropped 42% on its fourth weekend, putting it at No. 2 for the second weekend in a row. The $8 million gross lifted cume to a very strong $127.7 million. It should soon pass “Click,” which took $135.5 million, to become the year’s top comedy.

“World Trade Center” is also holding relatively well, falling 41% in its third weekend to $6.4 million and upping cume to $55.6 million. Paramount’s 9/11 drama looks likely to end up with around $75 million.

“Barnyard” is showing the best legs of late summer, however. Par toon fell only 28%, grossing $5.4 million and lifting cume to $54.7 million.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” fell out of the top 10 for the first time but passed “Spider-Man” as it upped its total take to $407.6 million, making it the sixth highest domestic grosser of all time. It will likely stay at No. 6, since “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” No. 5 on the list, is well ahead with $431.1 million.

In limited release, “The Illusionist” expanded from 51 to 144 theaters and once again did boffo biz, grossing $1.8 million and averaging $12,687 per play. Cume is $3.2 million after two weeks. Yari Film Group plans to take the pic wide to 700-800 theaters for Labor Day weekend.

“Trust the Man” continued to do mediocre biz as it expanded from 38 to 158 theaters and grossed just $285,000, or $1,804 per theater, in its second frame. Cume is $540,827. Fox Searchlight will expand the David Duchovny-Julianne Moore starrer to around 300 locations on Friday.

“Half Nelson” moved from three to 21 theaters in its third weekend and grossed a solid $210,157, or $10,007 per play. Cume for ThinkFilm’s Sundance buy is $389,367.

Sony Pictures Classics opened dark drama “The Quiet” at seven theaters in Gotham and L.A. and did $28,738, or $4,105 per play.

Indie also doubled the count of its Sundance pickup “Quinceanera,” grossing a weak $222,311 at 96 playdates, giving it an average of $2,316 and bringing the cume to $816,307.

In its second frame, IFC expanded the “Factotum” print count from six to 31 and grossed $124,060, or $4,002 per theater. Cume for the Matt Dillon starrer is $215,078.

Year-to-date B.O. remains up 5% from 2005 but down 2% from 2004.

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