America, you’ve been rocked. Jack Black’s inspired comedy ”The School of Rock” rolled to the top spot at the box office this weekend, taking in $20.2 million, according to studio estimates. Buoyed by strong reviews (including an A from EW’s Owen Gleiberman), the comedy, about a desperate musician who poses as a substitute teacher in order to recruit 10-year-olds for a battle of the bands contest, appealed to audiences of all ages and impressively topped the gross of Denzel Washington’s new thriller ”Out of Time,” even though ”Rock” was playing in fewer theaters.
Still, ”Out of Time” premiered well, with $17 million, thanks to the drawing power of Washington in a straight-ahead thriller. ”Time”’s performance is a nice bounce back for the actor, whose directorial debut, ”Antwone Fisher,” struggled at the box office late last year.
Last week’s top film, the action thriller ”The Rundown,” starring The Rock and Seann William Scott, fell 47 percent in its second weekend to $9.8 million, bringing its 10-day total to $32.7 million. And Diane Lane’s romance ”Under the Tuscan Sun,” which picked up almost 500 theaters from last weekend, slipped only 19 percent to $7.9 million. After 10 days, it’s grossed $21 million.
Also holding nicely was the family comedy ”Secondhand Lions,” with Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, down 35 percent to $5.4 million. But with the arrival this week of Quentin Tarantino’s ”Kill Bill” and the George Clooney/Catherine Zeta-Jones comedy ”Intolerable Cruelty,” these lions won’t be roaring too much longer.