You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Another happy meal for Hannibal

U pic devours $37 mil third course with 'Red Dragon'

Universal’s “Red Dragon” gorged itself at the weekend box office with an October-record $37.5 million in estimated opening grosses.

But latest Hannibal Lecter suspenser hardly cannibalized the competish, as Disney laffer “Sweet Home Alabama” dropped a modest 39% to $21.6 million in second place over its soph sesh. And DreamWorks’ Jackie Chan starrer “Tuxedo” tumbled just 33% to $10.1 million in third over a second frame.

Artisan managed a sixth-place opening for Bible tooner “Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie,” which grossed an estimated $6.5 million from just 940 runs.

The big “Dragon” debut — coming a week after a $35.6 million “Bama” bow — had industry-ites marveling that normally sleepy fall has suddenly become yet another active B.O. season. Brett Ratner-helmed remake of 1986 Lecter pic “Manhunter” repped the best-ever fall opening for an R-rated pic, outpacing 1994’s $36.4 million bow for “Interview with a Vampire.”

Industrywide, the fulsome weekend marked a 20% improvement over the same frame a year ago with $111 million in estimated total grosses, according to data from B.O. tracker Nielsen EDI. Sesh is the first ever to tread north of $100 million in October.

Year-to-date, 2002 is 13% ahead of the same portion of last year with $6.84 billion in total B.O. If that pace continues through year’s end, 12-month industry grosses would exceed $9 billion for the first time following a record $8.13 billion haul in 2001.

Limited pics click

Meanwhile, handful of pics mounted successful limited bows this weekend.

Warner Bros.’ “Welcome to Collinwood” grossed an estimated $82,000 from 16 theaters in five markets, or an acceptable $5,125 per venue. A production of George Clooney’s and Steven Soderbergh’s Section Eight shingle, “Collinwood” enters additional markets Oct. 18 and 25.

Paramount Classics’ well-reviewed drama “Bloody Sunday” unspooled in a pair of Gotham locations and grossed $32,000 — an impressive $16,000 per site.

And well-received Miramax drama “Heaven” grossed $54,000 from four L.A. and Gotham engagements for a celestial $13,500 per playdate.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Disney expanded its “Moonlight Mile” drama by 412 theaters for a total 434 and grossed $2 million, or $4,614 per venue with a $2.4 million cume. Perf was good for ninth place among all weekend titles.

Mouse’s anime tooner “Spirited Away” added 44 engagements for a total 93 and grossed $600,000, or $6,492 per playdate with a $1.9 million cume.

United Artists widened laffer “Igby Goes Down” by 26 theaters for a total 147 and grossed $506,000, or $3,443 per venue with a $2.7 million cume.

Goldwyn/Fireworks broadened Mick Jagger-Andy Garcia starrer “The Man from Elysian Fields” by 15 engagements to 21 and grossed $94,500, or $4,500 per playdate with a $163,863 cume.

And Menemsha held in a single Gotham location with docu “Shanghai Ghetto” to gross $10,603 with a $28,765 cume. Jewish-themed film adds five New York runs Friday and a single L.A. site Oct. 25.

The big “Dragon” opening compares to an even more sizeable bow for franchise predecessor “Hannibal,” which opened at $58 million in February 2001. (Hopkins first portrayed films’ serial-killer central character — created by novelist Thomas Harris — in 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” a $13.8 million opener.)

U execs said it would be unfair to compare “Hannibal” and “Dragon.” “Hannibal” — a co-prod with pic distrib MGM — enjoyed an important advantage as the first sequel to well-regarded Oscar-winning “Lambs,” whereas “Dragon” was a “Lambs” prequel.

And “Hannibal” left a bad taste in the mouth of many “Lambs” lovers.

“I think that ‘Red Dragon’ had to overcome the fact that ‘Hannibal’ played like a horror film,” U distrib maven Nikki Rocco observed.

Some 91% of patrons rated “Dragon” “excellent” or “very good” in U exit interviews. “I really have confidence this picture is going to have legs,” Rocco said. U estimated production costs at $78 million.

“Dragon” broke the previous record for an October opening of $28.6 million, rung up by U’s “Meet the Parents” two years ago. “Dragon” auds were evenly split between males and females, with 50% of patrons under age 30.

Edward Norton — franchise’s latest co-star to match his FBI agent wits with Hopkins’ Lecter — scored a personal best in outpacing his opening with last year’s “The Score.”

Auds eat their veggies

“Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie” was heavily marketed through church groups, and Artisan execs were pleased with the results.

“We think it was a remarkable opening,” said distrib topper Steve Rothenberg.

G-rated pic’s relatively modest run will be widened in much of the U.S. next weekend. “Jonah” was especially light on Northeast screens, but Artisan plans to boost East Coast engagements beginning Oct. 18.

More Film

  • Of Fathers and Sons

    Producer of Oscar-Nommed Syria Documentary Could Miss Awards Due to Visa Problem

    A German producer’s hopes to attend Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, where his film is up for an Oscar, look likely to be dashed by tightened U.S. Department of Homeland Security restrictions and increased bureaucracy. Hans Robert Eisenhauer is one of the producers of “Of Fathers and Sons,” director Talal Derki’s film about a radical Islamist [...]

  • Speaker of the United States House

    Nancy Pelosi, Ava DuVernay Honored at VH1 Trailblazers Event

    Cher is feeling a little better about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. “When I see Trump spew his hate and tell his gazillion lies, I get pissed off and feel uneasy at the same time,” the Oscar winner and frequent Trump critic said Wednesday while introducing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at VH1 Trailblazers [...]

  • Most Memorable Oscar Speeches in Academy

    The Most Memorable Oscar Speeches in Academy History

    No Academy Awards is complete without some emotional acceptance speeches on stage – and some political ones to boot. With just 90 seconds to make an impact, many actors have used the platform as a voice for political change, calling attention to hot-button issues like climate change and gender equality, while others have simply reveled [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Arrested, in Custody of Chicago Police

    Jussie Smollett has been arrested and faces criminal charges for allegedly filing a false police report and for disorderly conduct. Chicago police tweeted Thursday morning that the “Empire” actor was under arrest and in custody of detectives. Smollett claimed that he had been attacked by two men on Jan. 29 — he said they beat [...]

  • Billie Holiday (1915-1959, born Eleanora Fagan)

    Billie Holiday Documentary Draws Buyers as Concord Boards Project

    Concord, the successor to the Billie Holiday Estate, has boarded James Erskine’s documentary “Billie,” which tracks the iconic jazz singer’s life. Altitude Film Sales has sold the project to several territories. Also joining the project, now in post-production, is the Brazilian colorization artist Marina Amaral. Most of the filmed and still images that exist of [...]

  • My Extraordinary Summer With Tess review

    Film Review: 'My Extraordinary Summer With Tess'

    Winner of a special mention from the Berlinale Generation KPlus’ adult jury, the family-friendly, light drama “My Extraordinary Summer With Tess” is straightforward youth cinema with surprising emotional depth. Based on a prize-winning novel by Anna Woltz, a beloved Dutch writer of work for young readers, it explores family relationships and emphasizes the importance of [...]

  • UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report: Women, Minorities

    Hollywood Diversity Gains in TV but Falls Short in Movies

    Minorities and women have registered gains in several key areas of television but women continue to lag in movies, according to a report issued Thursday by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. “My basic take is that TV is improving more for minorities and women than film,” said Dr. Darnell [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content