Move over Mel Gibson. ''Swimfan'' boasts two emerging young stars and an erotic stalker story

By Dave Karger
September 06, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Swimfan: Gene Page

The guilty pleasure of the month will try to unseat Mel Gibson from the top of the box office this weekend, as ”Swimfan” opens wide at the multiplexes. The teen stalker thriller starring ”Bring It On’s” Jesse Bradford and ”Traffic’s” Erika Christensen will be the must-go movie for back-to-school teenagers, who have been seeing the film advertised for weeks now on ”American Idol.” (The ”Idol” finalists even attended the ”Swimfan” premiere last month.) With an alluring teen-”Fatal Attraction” hook, ”Swimfan” should debut atop the box office chart with about $12 million.

What’s more, the word of mouth phenomenon ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding” looks likely to maintain its No. 2 position. Over the long Labor Day weekend, the comedy earned $14.6 million for a total so far of more than $82 million. This weekend it should gross another $11 million, inching ever closer to a big fat $100 million.

That would push Mel Gibson’s ”Signs” back to third place after a total of three non-consecutive weeks at No. 1. A $10 million weekend would push the crop-circle blockbuster past the $200 million mark, making it only the fourth film this year (after ”Spider-Man,” ”Attack of the Clones,” and ”Austin Powers in Goldmember”) to do so.

Expect Vin Diesel’s ”XXX” to slide to fourth place with $8 million, leaving the week’s other new wide release, ”City by the Sea,” to round out the top five. The crime drama, starring Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Frances McDormand, will arrive in approximately 2,400 theaters with hardly any buzz, which should result in a ho-hum $6 million debut. Good thing De Niro’s got ”Analyze That” coming in three short months.