Hollywood notched its first $4 billion summer as teen geeks helped Hollywood end the season in record fashion.
Sony’s “Superbad,” the comedy about three dorky high-schoolers trying to score booze for a party, was the No. 1 movie for a second straight weekend with $18 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. The movie raised its 10-day total to $68.6 million.
“Superbad” was on its way to $100 million, an unusual accomplishment for a movie with no big stars.
“It just goes to show, you make them laugh, and they’ll come,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony, which kicked off Hollywood’s big summer with a record-breaking debut weekend of $151.1 million for “Spider-Man 3” in early May. “To start the summer with ‘Spider-Man’ and end it like this is an absolute blast.”
Though business is slowing down as parents and students prepare for a new school year, Hollywood continued its summer hot streak. The top 12 movies took in $90.2 million, up 7 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Invincible” opened at No. 1 with $17 million.
Overall, Hollywood crossed the $4 billion mark for the summer season. The figure topped the $3.95 billion set in 2004, according to box office tracker Media By Numbers.
Movies will have grossed about $4.15 billion by the time the season ends on Labor Day, up 8 percent from last summer, estimated Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers.
“Whether it be sequels, originals, comedies, action movies or whatever, this particular mix of films brought audiences in a record-breaking way,” Dergarabedian said. “We still have to temper that with the fact that the number of tickets sold is nowhere near a record.”
Factoring in higher admission prices, Media By Numbers estimated about 606 million movie tickets will have been sold this summer — a solid figure but only the sixth-best for modern Hollywood.
The best summer in recent times was in 2002, when 653.4 million tickets were sold.
The weekend’s top debuts were Universal’s “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” and Lionsgate’s “War.”
“Mr. Bean’s Holiday” features Rowan Atkinson reprising the goofy man-child character he played on British television and in the 1997 movie “Bean.”
If the estimates hold when final numbers are released Monday, “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” will finish No. 4 at the box office with $10.1 million. It already has taken in $190 million in overseas markets, where the character is enormously popular.
“War,” an action showdown between Jet Li as a shadowy hit man and Jason Statham as an FBI agent, debuted at No. 5 with $10 million.
The MGM and Weinstein Co. release “The Nanny Diaries,” starring Scarlett Johanssen as a recent college graduate who takes a live-in childcare job for a control-freak mom (Laura Linney) and a career-obsessed dad (Paul Giamatti), opened in sixth place with $7.8 million.
Yari Film Group’s “Resurrecting the Champ,” with Samuel L. Jackson as a former boxer now living on the streets and Josh Hartnett as a sportswriter who chronicles the man’s story, opened weakly with $1.85 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.