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SUNDAY AM: Sony’s Superbad did supergood at the domestic box office this weekend as the studio told me Judd Apatow’s low-cost coming of age comedy opened with a surprisingly big $31.2 million from 2,948 theaters. large_superbad.jpg“It trounced all expectations,” a studio source explained to me. This is the only time a summer movie released after August 15th has gone over $30M. “We started the summer in a record way and are finishing it that way,” a Sony exec told me. The breakdown of moviegoers seeing Superbad was 52% male and 48% female, with 60% of the debut weekend audience between the ages of 18-30. “Word of mouth carried this film nicely,” an exec said. After weeks when the pic’s awareness level was tracking lower than had been hoped, overwhelmingly great reviews from even prestige media like The New York Times made the difference for $12.3 mil Friday and $10.4 mil Saturday and a projected $8.4 mil Sunday. Once again, the comedy wheel from the fertile mind of mogul-in-the-making Apatow and his buddies produced another sweet but raunchy laugher that both young and older moviegoers wanted to see after months of bloated blockbusters. (And my savvy box office gurus predicted back on May 1st that this pic would be the late-summer sleeper.) Instead of hundreds of millions of dollars, Superbad cost only $20M. ”So the budget-to-gross ratio on this one could be really something special when we get to the end of the run,” a Sony source told me.

theinvasion2.jpgSummer to date’s domestic box office revenues of $3.82 billion (Media By Numbers) this year already have passed 2006. So the all-time record for May 1st through Labor Day is certain to go down since 2004 was the precedent setter with $3.95 billion. This was the 6th “up” weekend in a row in overall summer box office. But you wouldn’t have known it from 5th place newcomer The Invasion from Warner Bros, which tanked even worse than anyone thought. Four directors later, this bomb opened to only $2 million Friday and $2.2 million Saturday from 2,776 runs for only a $5.7 million weekend. (Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig woke up with fleas from this dog.) And another debut, The Weinstein Co’s The Last Legion, finished out of the Top 10 (in 12th)altogether with only $2.6 mil this weekend from 2,002 venues despite those ads making the movie look like a clone of the hit pic 300. (Talk about problems: the horribly reviewed Legion was supposed to be released back in October 2006, then moved down, and moved down again, to April. Finally, an agreement was reached whereby TWC had to distribute The Last Legion in at least 1,500 theaters by August 24th. The P&A money was kept to only a bare minimum, and the word “dumped” has even been used.)

lastlegion3.jpgThe rest of the Top 10 movies finished in predictable order. No. 2 went to New Line’s holdover Rush Hour 3 which took in $6.3 mil Friday and $8.7 mil Saturday from 3,778 dates — down 56% — for a new cume of $88.1 mil. Holding up starting three weeks in release, Universal’s The Bourne Ultimatum earned $5.7 mil Friday and $8.1 mil Saturday in 3,701 dates for a big new cume of $163.8 mil. Meanwhile, the Matt Damon threequel rolled into the UK this weekend as No. 1 with twice as big an opening day as the franchise’s previous two.

Still hanging in at #4 on its fourth Friday, 20th Century Fox’s The Simpsons Movie took in $6.6 mil from 3,162 plays for a new cume of $165 mil. Paramount’s Stardust continued not to shine, placing 6th with just $5.2 mil from 2,565 theaters for a dismal new cume of $19 mil. (Ouch!) No. 7 went to New Line’s Hairspray which took in $4.4 mil from 2,389 venues for a new cume of $100.7 mil. Disney’s Underdog at #8 continues to underwhelm with a new cume of just $31.7 mil after a $3.6 mil from 2,551 theaters. No. 9 was Warner’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix with a giant new cume of $278.8 mil following this weekend’s $3.7 mil from 1,955 runs. And, rounding out the Top 10, Universal’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry finished the weekend with $3.5 mil from 2,258 venues for a new cume of $110.3 mil.

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.