The serious side of the "Funny People" aftermath

Mon Aug 3, 2009 1:58am EDT
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By Steven Zeitchik

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Let's call this weekend what it is: some cold proof that Judd Apatow's hot streak is over.

There are many metrics you can choose from after the underwhelming $23.4 million take this weekend of the writer/director/producer's "Funny People."

A few:

* This will likely be the eighth straight movie that Apatow produced that failed to top $100 million. ("Step Brothers" and "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," the latter of which he also wrote, just reached the mark but didn't surpass it.)

* Opening weekend has been a hallmark of Apatow in his robust years. But only two of these past eight films opened to at least $30 million -- after the three previous pictures all did.

* This month marks exactly two years since Apatow Prods. had a bona fide breakout along the lines of a "Talladega Nights" or "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" -- the Greg Mottola-directed "Superbad," which earned $121 million.

* After "Virgin" and "Knocked Up," Apatow was touted for his rare ability to bring overseas audiences to U.S. comedies. That was then, this is now. Outside of "Zohan," none of his previous seven pictures have topped $150 million internationally. "Funny People" isn't likely to change that.

Of course, it's worth bearing in mind that Apatow is in many ways a victim of his own success, and the high bar that success has set. A $60 million or $70 million comedy, as many have been (and "Funny People" may still be) is still good. It's just not Apatow good.   Continued...

<p>Actor Adam Sandler poses at the premiere of his new comedy film "Funny People" in Hollywood July 20, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>