My Big Fat Greek Wedding confirmed its place among the box office elite on Tuesday (Nov 19)when it joined the select band of pictures that have grossed more than $200m. Thecomedy-romance passed the mark exactly seven months or 215 days after its USrelease on Apr 19, with a domestic box office gross of $200,217,641. Themilestone is the latest storming success for the picture, which cost $5m andrecently became the most profitable independent of all time, overtakingArtisan's The Blair Witch Project.
Written by andstarring Nia Vardalos, Greek Wedding centres on a Chicago-based woman's efforts to findthe right man despite her father's ethnocentric wish that she marry withinthe Greek community. The picture started out as a one-woman stage show starringVardalos, who was persuaded to write a screenplay by Rita Wilson, theactress-producer wife of Tom Hanks. The high-profile pair's Playtoneproduction company produced the project after Gold Circle Films and HBO werebrought in as joint-funders. IFC Films was hired as distributor for a flat fee.
My Big FatGreek Wedding garneredencouraging reviews from the critics and quickly settled into its remarkablestride, forcing its producers to reassess their modest expectations. It passed$100m in its 22nd week (weekend of Sept 13-15) and overtook The Blair WitchProject's $140.5mgross to become the most profitable independent ever in its 25th week (weekendOct 4-6). Despite its success in the US, Greek Wedding has so far had limited exposureinternationally. It opened on Sept 20 in the UK, where it grossed $20.2m;Israel on Jul 11 for $7.9m; Australia on Oct 24 for $7.4m; and Greece on Jul 19for $3.2m. The picture is set for release in Italy on Dec 6, Germany on Jan 10,2003 and France on Feb 5, 2003.