‘Superbad’ Wants Some Box-Office McLovin, In Projection Booth

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig's 'Invasion' probably won't crash the comedy's party.

It’s been three months full of pirates, ogres and superheroes, of aging action stars and amnesiac super-spies, and as summer 2007 finally winds down, it’s high time we gave the box office a little McLovin.

That’s the hope, at least, of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, stars of the hilarious “Superbad,” opening this weekend in 2,800 theaters. The ribald tale of two high schoolers looking to party on their last night before graduation, “Superbad” bows in the same frame that saw “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin,” also a Judd Apatow joint, become a surprise hit two years ago (rocketing to #1 with a very healthy $21.4 million). Both “Virgin” and this year’s “Knocked Up” played for weeks, cruising past the $100 million mark with relative ease. “Superbad,” which some are calling the funniest film of the year, could make it a pattern.

But with success comes imitators — clones that look the same on the surface but lack the soul of the original. Which brings to mind several aspects of “The Invasion,” including its plot (aliens take over earthlings and turn them into pod people); its history (James McTeigue and the Wachowski Brothers were brought in to do extensive rewrites and reshoots after executives were unsatisfied with German director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s take); and the very film itself (it’s the fourth adaptation of Jack Finney’s “The Body Snatchers”). Opening in 2,700 theaters, the horror flick stars Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman and Jeffrey Wright.

If nostalgia’s your kick, though, look no further than the Slamdance hit “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters,” a documentary about two fierce video game competitors who spend a lifetime (not to mention a lifetime’s wages in loose change) trying to best each other in “Donkey Kong.” The primate protagonist smashes his way into five theaters this weekend. Watch out for the flaming barrels.

Also opening in limited release are “Death at a Funeral,” a new black comedy from director Frank Oz; and “The 11th Hour,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s manifesto on the problems plaguing our environment.

The Predictions: Will this weekend be super-rad for Judd Apatow and company, or will “The Invasion” or last week’s “Rush Hour 3″ crash the comedy’s party? We asked our experts.

What’s the #1 flick? How much will it rake in?

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor: “Superbad” ($22 million)
“It’s certainly tempting to predict a huge take for ‘Superbad’ this weekend. Sony has been hyping this flick for months on end and just about everyone here has been raving about it. But the fact is, the leads of this film, Michael Cera and Jonah Hill, are big unknowns to most moviegoers. Then again, so was Seth Rogen (who co-wrote this one and has a supporting role) a few months ago, and ‘Knocked Up’ did just fine. So, yeah, I’m going to say ‘Superbad’ takes out ‘The Invasion’ and ‘Rush Hour 3,’ but I think its take won’t have anyone forgetting ‘American Pie.’ ”

Larry Carroll, MTV News writer: “Superbad” ($25 million)
“It’s one of my favorite movies of the year, so I’m hoping that ‘Superbad’ gets some serious McLovin at the box office this weekend. I can’t see ‘Rush Hour’ holding up for a second weekend, and I’m thinking a $25 million haul for Jonah Hill and Michael Cera will be enough to make Chris Tucker go away for another six years.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Superbad,” “The Invasion” and “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.”

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