Opening at Number 1 in the US box office with a first weekend’s takings of $18.1 million (Macauley 1999: 39), amassing some $102 million in its national theatrical release alone (Finler 2003: 269), the Universal film American Pie is the gross-out comedy that grossed large, reviving the fortunes of a subgenre with its roots in the remote 1970s and fattening up its studio for sale. In the inadvertent entendre of the venerable film scholar Robin Wood, it is ‘one of those rare films where “everything came together” ’, his favourite in Hollywood’s high-school cycle of the 1990s:
one has the impression that the actors really enjoyed themselves, that there was a constant sense of fun and pleasure in the making of the film, a communal creative engagement more pronounced than in any of the other films . . . The film is very funny, but also very sweet, generous to its characters and with a sort of seductive innocence.