''Red Dragon'' should set a new box office record. And don't be surprised if ''My Fat Greek wedding'' becomes the biggest indie ever

By Dave Karger
Updated October 04, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, ...
Credit: Red Dragon: Glen Wilson
  • Movie

Anyone hungry for more Hannibal?

Moviegoers will get another helping of the popular villain this weekend as ”Red Dragon” enters multiplexes with no competing new wide releases.

Coming just a year and a half after ”Hannibal,” ”Dragon,” a loose remake of 1986’s ”Manhunter,” is a prequel to both ”Hannibal” and ”The Silence of the Lambs” and marks the third time Anthony Hopkins has played the snarky cannibal. He’s joined by a dream cast that includes Oscar nominees Edward Norton, Emily Watson, Harvey Keitel, and Ralph Fiennes.

Thanks to a 10-year lag after “Lambs,” “Hannibal” premiered with an astonishing $58 million. While “Dragon” may not match that figure, it’ll have no trouble breaking the record for best October opening ever, now held by 2000’s “Meet the Parents,” which opened with $28.6 million. Expect “Dragon” to devour the competition with $45 million.

That’ll push Reese Witherspoon’s “Sweet Home Alabama” back to second place. The romantic comedy debuted last weekend with a record-breaking $35.6 million, and has been holding steady in the days since. With audiences responding to the film better than critics, a moderate drop of 40 percent seems in order and would give the film a sweet $21 million take, bringing its 10-day total to about $65 million.

Third place will likely be a battle between Jackie Chan and “My Fat Greek Wedding.” Chan’s “The Tuxedo” opened last weekend with $15.1 million and could drop 45 percent to about $8 million. Meanwhile, “Greek Wedding” has been performing beautifully in the last few weeks, falling only three percent last weekend. A 10 percent slip would also mean another $8 million, bringing its total ever closer to $150 million. By the end of this weekend, “Wedding” will be the biggest independent film ever, topping “The Blair Witch Project.”

Rounding out the top 5 will be “Barbershop,” which could fall 30 percent to $7 million in its fourth week. Its total would then top $60 million, more than five times its $12-million budget. Looks like “Barbershop 2” will soon be open for business.

The Tuxedo

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 99 minutes
  • Kevin Donovan