''Hero'' easily holds on to No. 1. The martial arts movie takes in $11.5 million over Labor Day weekend -- an easy feat considering the weak competition

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

The summer movie season went out with a whimper, as Jet Li’s ”Hero” remained at No. 1 at the box office in the face of extremely lackluster competition.

”Hero” grossed $11.5 million over the Friday-to-Monday long weekend, according to studio estimates. By contrast, last year’s top Labor Day film, ”Jeepers Creepers 2,” earned $18.4 million. In fact, ”Hero”’s take marks the lowest for a No. 1 film since the weekend after Labor Day last year, when David Spade’s ”Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” topped the charts with a mere $6.7 million.

Surprisingly, the goofy comedy ”Without a Paddle” actually rose one spot to No. 2, with $9.4 million, while ”Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” slipped to third, with $8 million.

Close behind was the best performing of the weekend’s four new films: the drama ”Paparazzi,” which earned a fair $7.9 million. Meanwhile, ”The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement” placed fifth, with $7.3 million.

That means the three other new releases placed out of the top five. Josh Hartnett’s thriller ”Wicker Park” came in at No. 6, with an embarrassing $6.8 million, while Reese Witherspoon’s period drama ”Vanity Fair” and the ensemble comedy ”The Cookout,” featuring Queen Latifah, both grossed $6.1 million in about half the theaters of the rest of the top 10. Perhaps this coming weekend’s ”Resident Evil” sequel will shake things up a bit. But even that’s not a sure thing.

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 93 minutes
  • Dwight Little