Freaks? Geeks? Judd Apatow-produced comedy ''Superbad'' peaks, overachieving with an estimated $33 mil take to rule the box office. Meanwhile, nobody asked Nicole Kidman's ''Invasion'' to the dance

By Nicole Sperling
Updated August 20, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Melissa Moseley

What kind of crazy world do we live in where a big star like Nicole Kidman gets blown away at the box office by two geeky teenagers looking to score a few beers and a little action? Producer Judd Apatow and his band of comedians prove once again that heart — and some brilliant comedic lines — can conquer all.

Sony’s Superbad, starring Michael Cera and Jonah Hill, surprised everyone with a huge $33 million bow, just surpassing Apatow’s last comedic opening, Knocked Up, and earning back the film’s $20 million price tag in one weekend. Meanwhile Kidman’s The Invasion, from indie director Oliver Hirschbiegel, managed only a fifth-place finish, with a paltry $6 million gross.

Maybe it’s the succession of weird indie movies she’s chosen (anyone here see Birth or Fur?), or the negative buzz surrounding the film (the Wachowski brothers came in to rewrite and reshoot some of Invasion‘s action scenes) but Kidman, despite her decent acting chops, cannot seem to open a movie.

No matter to the total box office for the weekend, though. Thanks to Superbad‘s giant opening on a weekend that usually falls flat (Snakes on a Plane bombed last summer on this date at $13 million), the total box office was up some 20% over this same weekend a year ago.

Besides the boost from Superbad, the box office held on strong due to the holdovers. It’s during the second and third frames that movies really prove their worth. Either you’re bad and you free fall — see Rush Hour 3, which fell 56.5% to $21.4 million; Hot Rod, which sputtered to a 74.3% drop on its third weekend, to $571,780; and Bratz, which lost another 69%, to $439,599 — or you’re good like The Bourne Ultimatum, which held on in its third weekend in theaters far better then it did week two. The fast-paced actioner fell only 39.6% to $19.9 million. (Bourne‘s total now stands at $164.7 million.)

Also, scoring well in its later weeks was New Line’s Hairspray, which crossed the $100 million milestone after its fifth weekend in theaters, and even Paramount’s Stardust fell only 38.4% to $5.7 million. Yes, Stardust has mustered only $19.5 million after its two weekends, but its second-week performance has to be some consolation considering it cost close to $70 million to make.

Of the other new releases, Weinstein Co. dumped its 300 knock-off The Last Legion to a $2.7 million bow and 12th place. But the indie Death at a Funeral debuted decently in 260 theaters to $1.3 million. Two limited-release documentaries scored well too: Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour opened strong in four theaters to $60,853, while Picturehouse’s The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters bowed in five theaters to $51,493.

All in all, it was a good weekend at the movies. Awkward teens were rewarded. Overpaid actresses were punished. And unfortunately, Brett Ratner will continue making movies. Rush Hour 3 may have dropped close to 60%, but no one’s going to turn down a guy who can muster up almost $88 million in ten days at the box office.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 84 minutes
  • Seth Gordon