News: Eminem's "Funny People" Tops All, $23.4 Mil Box Office Weekend

Monday, Aug 3, 2009 10:00AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

The new Adam Sandler film Funny People, which features appearances by Eminem and Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, has landed atop its weekend competition with $23.4 million.

Despite competition from other films including The Ugly Truth and Aliens in the Attic, the film stood tall as the nation's top film.

Director Judd Apatow's Funny People opened at the No. 1 spot with an estimated $23.4 million. Of course, Funny People was billed more as a thoughtful dramedy than a balls-out Sandler laugh-fest. But whether it's a comedy, drama, or dramedy, Funny People's $75 million budget is quite the handful of pretty pennies, and with a shaky "B-" Cinemascore, the film is going to have a hard time overcoming tepid word-of-mouth. (CNN)

Universal Marketing & Distribution President Adam Fogelson expressed his reaction to the film's success.

"It was a pleasure to be supportive of Judd's move into a more serious and dramatic kind of film," Fogelson said in a statement. "No regrets. I'm excited to watch how the film evolves" at the box office. He dismissed the industry's higher expectations as "a lot of our competitors whispering." (New York Times)

Early reports also showed the film projected to win the race for top film over the weekend.

While Virgin bowed to $21 million with an unknown Steve Carrell at the center and Knocked Up pulled in $30 million with newcomer Seth Rogen, Funny People has giant movie star Adam Sandler leading the charge. But the comedy pro is leaving his PG comfort zone and the results when he does so are never certain. Prognosticators have this film opening at $20 million. I'm going with $35 million. Sandler and Judd Apatow could prove to be a very formidable combination, even with a close to 2 1/2 hour run time. (Entertainmen Weekly)

Apatow recently spoke on Em's on-set performance and overall appeal as an actor.

"He was a fantastic actor, and the best moments ever in my career were pitching him new jokes to say and making him laugh really hard," Apatow said in an interview. "He came early and well-prepared. I think he felt like, 'I'm entering a world of comedy here. I got to be on my game.' He was really funny, willing to say anything. I thought if I pitched him certain jokes, he'd say, 'No, no that's too far.'...Apparently, you can't shock Eminem with anything you have to say...To make him laugh super hard was really, really fun, and he's great in the movie. I'm glad that his scene kills, and so it's really exciting." (MTV)

Check out a trailer for Funny People below:

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