'School Of Rock' Tops Weekend Box Office

Paramount's "School of Rock" went to the head of the class on its debut at the North American box office this weekend striking a chord with moviegoers and raking in an estimated $20.2 million. The fil

Paramount's "School of Rock" went to the head of the class on its debut at the North American box office this weekend striking a chord with moviegoers and raking in an estimated $20.2 million. The film stars Jack Black (Tenacious D) as Dewey Finn, a down-on-his-luck musician turned substitute teacher who creates a band with his grade school students.

The opening for the PG-13 rated comedy from director Richard Linklater was the second highest for Black, behind 20th Century Fox's "Shallow Hal" ($22.5 million) and was the fifth biggest in October.

"It was on the high end of what we expected," said Wayne Lewellen, Paramount's president of distribution. "Jack Black did a tremendous amount of work promoting the film and it received great reviews across the board."

"School of Rock" reached a broad demographic with males and females evenly divided, and the over and under 25 crowd nearly even, with 48% and 52%, respectively. Lewellen noted that the film was expanding into the family audience as well, due to word of mouth and sterling reviews. "I think this film will expand [Black's] fan base and we're certainly expecting the picture to be around for quite a while."

"There's a stigma against kid movies now, where automatically people think, 'Uh oh, kids movie. Automatically s***ty,'" Black recently told Billboard.com. "But we were kind of on a mission to make a really funny one. A really good one. There was a time when those movies didn't have that stigma, like 'Bad News Bears' and 'Willy Wonka.' Those are just great movies. You don't think of them as kids movies."

Rounding out the weekend's top-5 movies are "Out of Time" (MGM), "The Rundown" (Universal), "Under the Tuscan Sun" (Buena Vista) and "Secondhand Lions" (New Line).