Red Dragon scared off the combined might of five top ten new releases and the irrepressible charms of Sweet Home Alabama to hold on to top spot in its second week with a $17.6m bite that brings its cumulative score after ten days to $63.2m, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
Universal's Hannibal Lecter thriller averaged $5,234 from 3,363 theatres, while holding on to second place was Buena Vista's Alabama with $14.1m for $85m after 17 days. The Reese Witherspoon-starrer averaged $4,255 from 3,313 venues.
Opening in third was Brown Sugar, Fox Searchlight's hip-hop romance starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan as lifelong friends who fall in love. Directed by Rick Famuyiwa and produced by Evergreen Productions, Brown Sugar enjoyed decent reviews and grossed $11.1m for a mighty $8,053 average from 1,372 theatres. It also confirmed Searchlight's aptitude for releasing urban movies targeted principally to the powerful African American audience sector. Last year's Kingdom Come grossed a total of $23.2m last year.
Opening in fourth place on $9.15m was The Transporter, 20th Century Foxís action vehicle for British actor Jason Statham. Despite mediocre reviews there was plenty of praise for Statham, who plays a former mercenary hired to kidnap the daughter of a Chinese cook. The Transporter was directed by Corey Yuen and averaged $3,357 from 2,572 theatres.
Guy Ritchie, Statham's director on 1998's Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, fared less well with his third film Swept Away, a critically mauled remake of Lina Wertmuller's 70s classic starring Ritchie's wife Madonna and Adriano Giannini. Released by Screen Gems in North America, Swept Away failed to make much of an impression, grossing $0.375m at 196 theatres for a feeble average of $1,913 a picture.
Of the other top ten openers, the well received Warner Bros family drama White Oleander debuted in seventh place with $5.7m. Featuring a stellar female cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Alison Lohman, Renee Zellweger and Robin Wright Penn, the picture focuses on the destructive legacy of a bewitching matriarch and averaged $3,745 from 1,510 venues. It was directed by Peter Kosminsky and produced by Gaylord Films/Pandora, which enjoyed two more female-driven hits earlier in the year with A Walk To Remember and Divine Secrets OF The Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Opening in eighth was Buena Vista's Tuck Everlasting on $5.5m. The romantic fantasy based on a hit children's book garnered decent reviews for an average of $4,641 from 1,185 venues. Alexis Bledel, Sissy Spacek, Ben Kingsley and William Hurt star and it was directed by Jay Russell.
In ninth was New Line's oft-delayed mob drama Knockaround Guys on a shade over $5m. Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper, John Malkovich and Dennis Hopper co-star in the ensemble piece, which was poorly reviewed and averaged a paltry $2,790 from 1,806 theatres. MGM's recently controversial comedy Barbershop bottomed out in tenth, down five places for $4m and an impressive $65.42m after five weeks.
Columbia/Revolution's Paul Thomas Anderson-directed oddball romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love, on exclusive release in five North American theatres, managed $380,000 for a sepctacular $76,000 average. The film, for which Anderson shared the best director award at Cannes, stars Adam Sandler and Emily Watson as unlikely lovers.
Overall the top 12 pictures combined for $93.2m, up 20% from the same weekend last year. Next weekend's releases include Screen Gems' action picture Formula 51 starring Samuel L Jackson and Robert Carlyle; Naomi Watts in the DreamWorks remake of Japanese horror picture The Ring; and the Paramount thriller Abandon starring Katie Holmes and Benjamin Bratt.
Estimated Top Ten US October 11-13, 2002
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (1) Red Dragon (Universal) UIP $17.61m $63.23m
2 (2) Sweet Home Alabama (Buena Vista) BVI $14.1m $85m
3 (-) Brown Sugar (Fox Searchlight) Fox International $11.1m --
4 (-) The Transporter (Fox) Fox International $9.15m --
5 (4) My Big Fat Greek Wedding (IFC Films) Vortex Pictures $7.87m $158.37m
6 (3) The Tuxedo (DreamWorks) UIP $7m $37m
7 (-) White Oleander (Warner Bros) Pandora $5.66m --
8 (-) Tuck Everlasting (Buena Vista) BVI $5.5m --
9 (-) Knockaround Guys (New Line) New Line International $5.04m --
10 (5) Barbershop (MGM) Fox International $4m $65.42m