April 7, 2008 / 1:11 AM / 10 years ago

Clooney comedy relegated to No. 3 at box office

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - George Clooney’s box office woes deepened on Monday when final weekend sales figures showed his new comedy, “Leatherheads,” opened at No. 3. Estimated data issued a day earlier placed it at No. 2.

Going into the weekend, the period football farce had been expected to best the competition in North American theaters with ticket sales in the mid-teen millions. Instead, the film tallied $12.68 million during its first three days of release, Universal Pictures said on Monday.

A day earlier, the studio estimated the movie would gross $13.5 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period, behind reigning box-office champ “21” and ahead of fellow rookie release “Nim’s Island.” Some rival studios considered the initial “Leatherheads” estimate too high.

An official at Universal, a unit of General Electric Co, said its estimate was based on the performance of comparable, older-skewing films.

Clooney, 46, directed and starred in "Leatherheads," a $58 million project set in the rough-and-tumble early days of American professional football. According to Rotten Tomatoes (www.rottentomatoes.com), a Web site that aggregates reviews, only 36 percent of top critics liked the film.

“21,” a gambling drama released by Sony Corp’s Columbia Pictures, earned $15.34 million during the weekend, about $240,000 more than was estimated Sunday.

Jodie Foster family adventure “Nim’s Island” swapped places with “Leatherheads,” with $13.21 million, about $90,000 less than the Sunday estimate. It was released by Twentieth Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.

Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Steve Gorman and Todd Eastham

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