''Signs'' is first for the second straight week. ''Greek Wedding'' enjoys its best box office weekend yet, and ''FearDotCom'' nets enough to make the top five, says Gary Susman
Mel Gibson, Rory Culkin, ...

If you didn’t spend this Labor Day Weekend going back-to-school shopping, having a barbecue, or getting stuck in traffic, maybe you went to see ”Signs” again. The crop-circle thriller topped the box office for the second straight weekend (and the third of the five weekends since its release), reaping another $16.5 million, according to studio estimates. It’s the only movie to have spent three weekends at No. 1 this summer, and its $195 million take so far makes it the biggest hit of Mel Gibson’s career.

”Signs”’ chief competition over the last month, the Vin Diesel-fueled ”XXX,” slipped to No. 3 this weekend on receipts of $13.1 million. In second place, enjoying its best showing to date, was the five-month-old ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which was showered with $14.6 million in ticket sales, for a total to date of $82.3 million.

Coming in fourth was ”Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams,” with $7.3 million. Despite poor reviews, ”FearDotCom” managed to scare up $7.1 million for a fifth place debut. It was the only new film in wide release this week, though expansion in limited release resulted in strong showings for Jennifer Aniston’s ”The Good Girl” (No. 9, $3.6 million) and Robin Williams’ ”One Hour Photo” (No. 10, $3.3 million).

Otherwise, it was a lackluster holiday weekend, with the overall box office down for the seventh week in a row, and with the four-day Labor Day total down about 12 percent from last year’s record Labor Day total (when ”Jeepers Creepers,” ”Rush Hour 2,” and ”American Pie 2” led the pack). Measured Friday through Sunday, it was the slowest weekend in 11 months.

This also ended a summer season in which there was no increase over last year in the number of tickets sold, despite such gargantuan hits as ”Spider-Man” and ”Star Wars: Episode Two — Attack of the Clones.” According to Exhibitor Relations, the box office took in $3.15 billion since Memorial Day and $3.8 billion since the beginning of May, both figures up from last summer’s record take, but higher ticket prices means that the number of admissions is the same or even less than last summer.

Fear Dot Com
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