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Screwball Comedy Is No. 1

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A pair of unlikely newlyweds managed to knock the hobbits down a peg.

"Just Married" prevented "The Two Towers" from taking top honors a fourth week in a row, reports The Early Show Entertainment Contributor Laurie Hibberd.

The romantic comedy took in $18 million. "The Two Towers" finished in second with $15 million, while "Catch Me if You Can" was a close third, raking in $14.8 million.

Hibberd says it is not a surprise that "Just Married" did so well, because it's targeted for teens. Actor Ashton Kutcher is big with the teen-age girls and boys, Hibberd explains. Recently, there hasn't been a good teen movie that has targeted them.

The no. 9 movie was "Antwone Fisher." It's been slowly rolling out across the country and, Hibberd says, is enjoying some early Oscar buzz. It not only stars Denzel Washington, it also marks his directing debut.

The trend goes as far back as film itself: A-list actors who decided to get out of their trailers and take charge. Some stars who have made that leap into the director's chair are Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford and Warren Beatty. And they all won Academy Awards for directing.

Hibberd says directing films is very engaging, and it's a very creative thing to be doing. It just happens to use more muscle than acting.

Bob Balaban is a longtime character actor who has also directed three films. He says film studios may have ulterior motives for letting big stars like George Clooney and Denzel Washington direct.

"I have a feeling that when big, huge successful movie stars get their opportunity to direct a movie, I usually think that to some extent they're being humored," says Balaban. "When it turns out that they're actually doing it better than a lot of other people, or as well, what a fantastic thing."

Balaban says actors may have the advantage over most other directors because they got to see other directors directing.

Washington admits he watched Norman Jewison, Spike Lee and Anton Fuqua like a hawk once he knew he would be directing "Antwone Fisher." And George Clooney had the tutorial of Steven Soderberg. But once on the set, only one thing can really help a first-time actor/director.

"The simplest advice that you could possibly give anybody who's becoming a director is: You don't have to know the right answer," says Balaban. "You just better give an answer, and it should be quick, and you shouldn't look stupid."

Here are the numbers, according to Hollywood.com:

  1. "Just Married," $18 million
  2. "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," $14.9 million
  3. "Catch Me If You Can," $14.8 million
  4. "Two Weeks Notice," $6.7 million
  5. "About Schmidt," $6.2 million
  6. "Chicago," $5.6 million
  7. "Maid in Manhattan," $5 million
  8. "Gangs of New York," $5 million
  9. "Antwone Fisher," $3.8 million
  10. "Adaptation," $2.9 million