Box Office Guru Wrapup: Superbad Opens Big at #1

Moviegoers got down with their superbad selves this weekend.

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Teenagers flocked to the multiplexes for stimulation this weekend as the raunchy new sex comedy Superbad powered its way to number one while the frame's other new releases, the sci-fi thriller The Invasion and the adventure tale The Last Legion, were met with yawns. The overall North American box office continued its red hot pace significantly beating out year-ago levels yet again on its way to possibly ending the summer season with a new record.

Sony captured the top spot for the first time since early May with Superbad which powered ahead of expectations to bow to an estimated $31.2M. The R-rated tale of three nerdy high school pals on a wild search to get booze to impress their lady friends averaged a potent $10,583 from 2,948 locations. The opening even beat out the $30.7M debut of June's Knocked Up from director Judd Apatow and actor Seth Rogen. Apatow produced Superbad which co-starred and was co-written by Rogen. Critics were quite impressed with McLovin and friends and gave the film high marks. (Click here for our interview with the stars of Superbad.)

The studio pushed the teen comedy for months with a well-executed marketing campaign which included a popular uncensored trailer and touring the main actors around the country for promotional events. Superbad delivered the second biggest opening for an R-rated film this year only trailing 300. The two are the only R pics to reach number one at all in 2007. With a production cost of only $18M, the comedy will easily become a healthy moneymaker for Sony. But the film's troubling Friday-to-Saturday drop of 15% could mean that fans rushed out upfront as if this were a sequel and that big dropoffs could be on the horizon. Still it was the second biggest opening ever in the traditionally slow second half of August behind just Freddy vs. Jason which debuted to $36.4M in 2003. Studio research showed that the audience was 52% male and 60% in the 18-34 bracket.

Rush Hour 3 fell 56% in its second weekend and slipped to the runnerup spot with an estimated $21.8M pushing the ten-day cume to $88.2M. The New Line action sequel should find its way to about $135-140M from North America. Like most of this summer's threequels, Rush Hour 3 will end its domestic run well behind the gross of its predecessor.

The one threequel to break that trend is The Bourne Ultimatum which followed in third place this weekend with an estimated $19M, off only 42%. Universal's latest action entry has taken in a stellar $163.8M in only 17 days and should surpass the $176.1M of 2004's The Bourne Supremacy by the end of the week to become the top-grossing film of the franchise. Grossing an estimated $6.7M in its fourth frame, down 41%, was The Simpsons Movie which has taken in $165.1M for Fox to date.

Starpower from Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig meant nothing at the box office for their new sci-fi thriller The Invasion which bombed with an opening of just $6M, according to estimates. Playing wide in 2,776 theaters, the PG-13 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers averaged a measly $2,161 per site. The Warner Bros. release earned mostly negative reviews.