''Hero'' will top a sluggish holiday weekend. Expect the martial arts movie to take out its low-buzz competition, including ''Paparazzi'' and Josh Hartnett's ''Wicker Park''

By Dave Karger
September 03, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Strike up those barbecues, because there’s not much to get moviegoers excited this Labor Day weekend. After opening to a decent $18 million last weekend, Jet Li’s martial arts film ”Hero” will try to make it two weeks at No. 1, though it will likely slip to about $12 million over the Friday-to-Monday period.

Meanwhile, four new films will hit multiplexes. Josh Hartnett’s delayed thriller ”Wicker Park” has the widest release pattern, but without much buzz it could end up in second place, with $10 million, for the long weekend. Cole Hauser and Tom Sizemore star in the drama ”Paparazzi,” while Queen Latifah appears in the ensemble comedy ”The Cookout” — both flicks will likely earn $9 million. And Reese Witherspoon’s period drama ”Vanity Fair,” opening in around 1,000 theaters, will try to break the top five with about $6 million, which is about how much ”Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” will earn in its second weekend. When a $6 million weekend still puts you in contention for the top five, you know it’s the end of the summer.