‘Superbad’ Crushes ‘Rush Hour 3′ To Top Weekend Box Office

'Bourne' is still going strong at #3; 'Invasion' snatches few bodies.

The Top Five
#1 “Superbad” ($31.2 million)
#2 “Rush Hour 3″ ($21.8 million)
#3 “The Bourne Ultimatum” ($19 million)
#4 “The Simpsons Movie” ($6.7 million)
#5 “Invasion” ($6 million)

Who can resist the lure of a threequel? Not audiences, surely, and certainly not studio executives, who regard the return of familiar franchises as sure bets at the box office. But are they right? In a summer bloated by six official threequels, will the most successful brand please step forward?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Not so fast, Captain Jack. We like your enthusiasm, Spidey, but please move to the back of the line. Shrek? Your place is next to Danny Ocean’s crew, toward the end. The most successful brand in the world doesn’t come with bloated budgets or bloated expectations. If this weekend is any indication, the most successful movie brand in the world comes from the comic minds of Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen.

OK, so “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” don’t constitute a strict threequel (see ” ‘Superbad’: Breathless, By Kurt Loder” ), but they do share more than just a recurring cast, raunchy humor and heart. Most of all, they share box-office dominance. With $31.2 million this weekend, “Superbad” is the latest Apatow joint to debut at #1 (claiming more than either “Virgin” or “Knocked Up” did in their opening weekends). Not bad for a no-name cast with two first-time leading men (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) and a director (Greg Mottola) whom 99 percent of moviegoers couldn’t pick out of a line-up. It helps, of course, that many are calling it the funniest film of the year (see “‘Superbad’ Wants Some Box-Office McLovin, In Projection Booth” ).

Meanwhile, second-place “Rush Hour 3″ is not being called the “most” anything film of the year, except, perhaps, unnecessary. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: With $21.8 million from Friday through Sunday — down 55 percent from last weekend — and a new total of $88.2 million, the movie is likely to be the least successful of the “Rush Hour” trilogy.

Not so for “The Bourne Ultimatum,” though. The amnesiac super spy might be unsure of his past, but with a third-place finish and $19 million, he’s making history irrelevant anyway. Matt Damon’s action flick should pass “The Bourne Supremacy” and become the highest-grossing film of the three by next weekend.

Speaking of barriers, with $4.3 million this weekend, “Hairspray” crossed the magical $100 million mark, certifying itself as a veritable blockbuster. Behold the power of Zac Efron’s wink! The musical has now made 14 times what John Waters’ original film made in 1988.

Other re-imaginings did much worse. “The Invasion,” yet another interpretation of “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” opened in fifth place with only $6 million. This despite the fact that it stars both James Bond (Daniel Craig) and, umm, Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman).

How’d We Do?

Tit for tat, Mr. Horowitz. It’s obviously still quite early, but by correctly predicting that “Superbad” would have a super-good weekend, MTV Movies writer Larry Carroll pulled even with Josh, each one ahead of our rotating cadre of guest celebrity prognosticators.

Prognosticator (Weeks Won)

Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor (1)
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (1)
Celebrity guest (0)

Next Week

Get these mother—-ing competitors off my mother—-ing schedule! A year and a week after he rode “Snakes on a Plane” to the top of the box office, Sam Jackson is back with “Resurrecting the Champ,” co-starring Josh Hartnett and opening in 1,550 theaters. Meanwhile, it’s “War” for Jason Statham and Jet Li, whose action extravaganza will debut in 2,200 theaters. Both could use a little feminine touch. Based on the best-selling book, Scarlett Johansson’s “The Nanny Diaries” will open Friday. Which one of these powerful actors, though, has the biggest international draw? The answer is none of the above. Rowan Atkinson, whose Mr. Bean character is a European sensation, arrives stateside next week with “Mr. Bean’s Holiday.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Superbad,” “The Invasion” and “Rush Hour 3.”

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