The teen sex romp sequel tastes sweet victory over the buddy action comedy sequel ''Rush Hour 2''

By Dave Karger
Updated August 15, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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How’s this for a sugar rush? In its opening weekend, ”American Pie 2” grossed a record breaking estimated $45.1 million, the most ever for an R-rated comedy. If the numbers hold, the ”AP2” debut will be the fourth consecutive $45 million-plus opening, following ”Jurassic Park III,” ”Planet of the Apes,” and ”Rush Hour 2.”

The R rating given to the ”American Pie” sequel didn’t seem to hurt the film (”Scary Movie 2”’s low debut last month was attributed to its R). Instead, comedy fans young and old lined up to see their favorite sex obsessed teenagers, resulting in ”AP2” more than doubling the $18.7 million gross of the original ”American Pie” in 1999. Universal can thank the tireless ”AP2” cast for working overtime to promote the film on every talk show known to man.

Meanwhile, another high performing comedy sequel, ”Rush Hour 2,” slipped to second place with an estimated $31.5 million, bringing its 10-day total to $132 million, almost matching the total gross of the first ”Rush Hour,” which earned $141 million back in 1998. ”RH2”’s 53 percent drop is steeper than was expected, though, and merely continues this summer’s trend of huge openings followed by precipitous drops.

But the week’s No. 3 film, the modern fairy tale ”The Princess Diaries,” bucked the trend by falling only 38 percent to maintain its ranking and earn another $14.1 million. Obviously families are spreading the word about the kid-friendly comedy.

Two other films opened wide this weekend, with mixed results. Nicole Kidman’s horror thriller ”The Others” benefited from fine reviews (and the crazy publicity from Kidman’s just finalized divorce from Tom Cruise) to snag fourth place with $13.6 million, though it was playing in only about half as many theaters as ”American Pie 2.” But the Farrelly brothers’ mixed media comedy ”Osmosis Jones” failed to entice many gross-out fans (who were obviously more interested in ”AP2”), earning a paltry $5.6 million despite a big name cast that includes Bill Murray and Chris Rock. The culprits? A lackluster trailer — and tough competition from those musically inclined adolescents.

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