Will ''Fat Greek'' trim ''Barbershop'' this weekend? As studios move slowly into the fall season, a word-of-mouth romance battles an African-American comedy for box office leadership

By Dave Karger
September 13, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Barbershop: Tracy Bennett

In its 22nd week of release, could ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding” finally snag the top spot at the box office for the first time? Or will the smash romance be the box office bridesmaid once again? With the new comedy ”Barbershop” crashing the party, it could go either way.

”Barbershop” may have the edge simply because it is, to borrow from wedding terminology, something new (though hopefully it’s not borrowed or blue). The comedy boasts an alluring cast, including Cedric the Entertainer, ”Save the Last Dance”’s Sean Patrick Thomas, and rap star Eve, all of whom will help attract large audiences, especially in big cities. Although it’s premiering in just 1,605 theaters, it could snip its way to the No. 1 position with about $9 million for the weekend.

That would mean a third consecutive week in the runner-up position for ”Greek Wedding,” which stands to fall 25 percent from last weekend’s $10.4 tally to about $8 million. If it’s any consolation, however, the word-of-mouth phenomenon has been the No. 1 film during the week and will definitely cross $100 million this weekend, on its way to becoming one of the most profitable films of all time (a benchmark currently held by ”The Blair Witch Project,” which grossed $140 million domestically).

Third place is up for grabs between a host of old and new entries. Tom Green returns with the goofy comedy ”Stealing Harvard,” a year after his last goofy comedy, ”Freddy Got Fingered,” tanked with $7 million in its first three days. ”Harvard,” whose dumb trailers don’t give any hint of humor (or plot, for that matter), will likely continue Green’s downward trend with a $6 million debut.

Likewise, last week’s two new releases, ”Swimfan” and ”City by the Sea,” should also fall to $6 million each in their second week. And after a couple weeks in limited release, Robin Williams’ twisted ”One Hour Photo” lands in 1,208 theaters nationwide and will rack up around $6 million for the weekend as well. With a little more studio muscle, ”Photo” could and should be contending for the top spot.

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