The Game Plan rocks the US box office

Disney’s tried and tested formula of pitching a tough guy against a cute kid (see: The Pacifier) worked its magic again for The Game Plan this weekend as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson faced down old mate Peter Berg – who directed him to box office success four years ago in The Rundown – and his new action thriller, The Kingdom. Friday night’s results saw a close-run race, but The Game Plan pulled ahead to score a healthy lead and $22.7 million in total takings. The Kingdom lost some momentum as the weekend wore on, ending up with $17.7 million, probably not helped by dodgy word of mouth, mixed reviews and a bleak, war-on-terror-weary setting.

Still, if US audiences wanted to see things explode, there was always zombie carnage in Resident Evil: Extinction, which dropped two places from its launch week to make $8 million in its second outing. That put Good Luck Chuck down to fourth, with the Dane Cook comedy making $6.3 million. And rounding out the top five was 3:10 To Yuma, with $4.1 million, boosting its running total to $44 million.

Sixth went to Jodie Foster revenge thriller The Brave One, which tumbled from third place with a 48% drop and made $3.7 million, putting it ahead of Mr Woodcock, which stayed at seventh with $3 million and $19.6 million so far. Eighth place was Eastern Promises, with the London-based Russian mob drama nabbing $2.8 million for a current take of $11.2 million.

Voyaging down to the bottom of the charts, we find Sydney White languishing at ninth, heading for a quick exit from the top 10 next week, and dropping 48.3% with $2.6 million and a disappointing total of $8.5 million. Finally, Beatles-flavoured musical romance Across The Universe opened on a few more screens and finally nudged into the top 10, with $2 million this weekend adding to its $5.5 million running total. Not much to sing about after three weeks on (albeit limited) release, but not the disaster some were predicting.