The Rock scores at the US box office

A second film has taken advantage of footie fever across the pond to touchdown at the top of the US box office charts. Mark Wahlberg’s based-on-truth drama Invincible scored two weeks running, and now Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has found willing audiences again for a spot of real-life pigskin playing. Based on the true story – and the documentary that chronicled it – of Sean Porter, a corrections officer who developed a football team at a juvenile detention centre, Gridiron focuses on a group of gang-bangers who get a second chance at life. Gridiron Gang scored to the tune of $15 million, which is healthy for a production budgeted around $30 million.

Crime also features in the week’s second-placed opener, Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia. Admittedly, it’s of the stylish, noir-flavoured kind, but it did decent if unspectacular business, nabbing $10.4 million. That put it ahead of the week’s second sports-themed film, animated adventure Everyone’s Hero. Brandishing a tragic background – the movie was a dream project of Christopher and Dana Reeve – and a host of star voices (William H Macy, Robin Williams) the film didn’t manage to click with the movie going public, and could only round up $6.2 million.

Suffering in fourth was The Last Kiss, starring Zach Braff. Despite Braff personally pushing the film everywhere from his blog to MySpace and making a shedload of appearances, the tale of twenty something apathy didn’t exactly have them flooding into cinemas, ending up with just $4.7 million. Still, it was enough to get ahead of The Covenant, which dropped severely in its second week, down from the top spot to number five. It’s made only $15.7 million so far in the US.

Talking of returning movies, Invincible is also still in the charts, making $3.9 million in its third week of release, for an impressive total so far of $50 million. But the real winners continue to be the indie champions – The Illusionist and Little Miss Sunshine, which swapped places in the middle of the rankings. Despite being one place ahead this week, though, The Illusionist is now on $23 million in the States, with Little Miss Sunshine motoring ahead at $46 million – not bad, considering it was made for $8 million…

Far less successful is Hollywoodland, falling faster than a speeding bullet in its second week, to land painfully at ninth. It’s managed to grab $10 million in total. And at ten, clinging to the bottom of the charts by the skin of Jason Statham’s teeth is Crank. The super-charged actioner now has $20.7 million in the bank.