(Refiling to clarifying roles in paragraph 12) By Bernie Woodall
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Raunchy coming-of-age comedy “Superbad” topped the weekend North American box office and broke the record for a movie opening in late August, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
“Superbad” grossed $31.2 million, breaking a 12-year-old record for movies that opened after August 15, said Rory Bruer, president of distribution for Sony Pictures.
The film about two nerdy high school buddies looking for booze and girls unseated last week’s top earner, “Rush Hour 3,” a buddy film about two hapless cops.
“Rush Hour 3” came in second with $21.8 million for New Line Cinema, down 49 percent from its opening weekend. It has grossed a total of $88.2 million since its debut on August 10.
“Superbad” displaced “Mortal Kombat” as the top money maker film to debut after August 15, according to Bruer. “Mortal Kombat” opened on August 18, 1995, and grossed $23 million in its first weekend.
“Superbad,” made by Sony unit Columbia Pictures, cost $20 million to make, Bruer said, adding, “This movie is going to be around a while. ... This movie will play well into the fall.”
“Superbad” is the second blockbuster in a row for producer Judd Apatow and its co-writer/star Seth Rogen. Apatow directed this summer’s surprise hit comedy, “Knocked Up,” while Rogen starred in it.
Coming in third was “The Bourne Ultimatum,” the latest installment in the espionage-action Jason Bourne series. It took in $19 million in its third week of release.
Fourth was animated feature “The Simpsons Movie” at $6.7 million.
“The Invasion,” starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, rounded out the top 5 for the weekend. The new arrival took in $6 million for Warner Brothers.
“Stardust,” a fantasy film starring Claire Danes, grossed $5.2 million for the No. 6 spot on the box office charts.
At No. 7 and topping the $100 million mark in total gross earnings was “Hairspray,” which opened on July 20. The film is derived from John Waters’ quirky 1988 film and a 2002 Broadway musical. It stars Michelle Pfeiffer and a cross-dressing John Travolta.
“Hairspray” took in 33 percent less over the weekend than last weekend, which was the lowest drop-off for movies in the Top 10 list.
No. 8 was Walt Disney Co.’s “Underdog,” which took in $3.6 million in its third week of release.
Dropping 35 percent to No. 9 but still strong at $3.5 million was “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which has brought in $279 million in six weeks on the wide screens. It was released by Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner Inc.
“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” released by Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal Inc., came in 10th at $3.5 million.
“Superbad” producer Columbia Pictures is a division of Sony Corp. unit Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“Rush Hour 3” was released by New Line Cinema, a unit of Time Warner Inc..
“The Bourne Ultimatum” was released by Universal Pictures. “The Simpsons Movie” was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp..
It was the sixth straight weekend that the overall North American gross sales were higher than corresponding weeks from 2006, according to Media by Numbers. Overall sales in the 33 weeks of 2007 now stand at $6.5 billion, up from $6.1 billion a year ago.