Sony set a record tenth number one release for a distributor in asingle year as the American football drama Gridiron Gang starring The Rock opened top on anestimated $15m.
Four new pictures were not enough however to rouse the businessfrom its early autumnal slumber as the top 12 pictures trailed the same periodlast year by 12.3%.
Brian De Palma's noir thriller The Black Dahlia opened in second place on a disappointing$10.4m for Universal. The picture stars Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson,Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart and opened to mixed reviews following its recentworld premiere at Venice.
Fox'sanimated feature Everyone's Hero (formerlyYankee Irving) opened third on$6.2m while Paramount's The Last Kiss, which is based on a screenplay Paul Haggis adapted from the 2001Italian romantic comedy L'Ultimo Bacio, opened in fourth on $4.7m to mediocre reviews. It is directed by TonyGoldwyn and stars Zach Braff and Jacinda Barrett.
Last weekend's champion The Covenant, which marked Sony's ninth number release of the year, slipped four places to fifth on$4.7m for $15.7m.
Meanwhile Yari Film Group's mystery The Illusionist and Fox Searchlight's comedy LittleMiss Sunshine kept upwith the pace thanks to sustained word of mouth.
The Illusionist ranks seventh and added $3.8m for $23.3m after five weekends, and LittleMiss Sunshine rankseighth and took $3.4m for $46.4m after eight.
Focus Features' Hollywoodland tumbled seven places to ninth in itssecond weekend and stands at $10.5m. Lionsgate's documentary The US Vs JohnLennon opened in sixsites and grossed $72,000 for a strong $12,000 average.
Next weekend's wide releases are: Focus Features' action title Fearlessstarring Jet Li;Paramount's comedy Jackass: Number Two; Sony's drama All The King's Men, which stars Sean Penn, Kate Winslet andJude Law; and The Weinstein Company's horror title Feast starring Balthazar Getty.
Estimated Top Ten North America Sept 15-17, 2006
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Gridiron Gang (Sony) SPRI $15m -
2 (-) The Black Dahlia (Universal) Millennium/Nu Image $10.4m -
3 (-) Everyone's Hero (Fox) IDT Entertainment $6.2m -
4 (-) The Last Kiss (Paramount) Lakeshore Int'l $4.7m -
5 (1) The Covenant (Screen Gems) SPRI $4.7m $15.7m
6 (3) Invincible (Buena Vista) BVI $3.9m $50.9m
7 (6) The Illusionist (Yari Film Group) Syndicate $3.8m $23.3m
8 (7) Little MissSunshine (FoxSearchlight) Fox Int'l $3.4m $46.4m
9 (2) Hollywoodland (Focus) Miramax/BVI $2.7m $10.5m
10 (5) Crank (Lionsgate) Lionsgate/Lakeshore $2.7m$24.4m