Though “Signs” held on to the #1 spot at the box office, the real winner over the slow Labor Day weekend may have been “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which appears to be the year’s little-indie-movie-that-could.
As M. Night Shyamalan’s alien thriller earned $16.5 million and edged ever closer to the $200 million mark, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” quietly climbed to the #2 position with $14.5 million, according to studio estimates. Despite the fact that the flick has been in theaters for several months, it continues to draw in new audiences.
The independently produced, family-oriented ensemble comedy, which features ’NSYNC’S Joey Fatone in a small role (see ” ’NSYNC’s Joey Fatone Talks About His Big Fat Movie” ), was released in April to little fanfare. The subtle tale of a Greek-American girl and her eccentric, traditionally minded family managed to survive amid a sea of summer superheroes, secret agents and Jedis thanks to tremendous critical praise and moviegoer word-of-mouth. Playing on a mere 1,616 screens (roughly half of a movie like “XXX”), “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” has earned over $82.3 million to date and landed in its highest box-office chart position so far.
Meanwhile, the weekend’s only widely released new film, the Stephen Dorff-led horror flick “Fear Dot Com” (see “In Theaters: Naughty By Nature, Naughty By Design” ) debuted at #5 with $7.1 million. Jennifer Aniston’s “The Good Girl” (see “Aniston, Gyllenhaal Get Half-Naked In ’Good Girl’ “ ) moved from a previously limited release into a wider number of theaters and landed at #9 with #$3.6 million, for a four-week total of $7.3 million.
The rest of the slow holiday weekend’s top 10 includes Vin Diesel’s “XXX” at #3 with $13.1 million ($123.8 million total in four weeks of release); “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams” at #4 with $7.3 million ($69 million, four weeks); “Austin Powers in Goldmember” at #6 with $7 million ($203.4 million, six weeks); “Blue Crush” at #7 with $5.4 million ($34.5 million, three weeks); “Friends” star Matthew Perry’s “Serving Sara” at #8 with $4.2 million ($11.7 million, two weeks); and Robin Williams’ dark indie drama “One Hour Photo” at #10 with $3.3 million ($3.8 million, two weeks).
“Undisputed,” which stars Ving Rhames (“Mission: Impossible 2″) and Wesley Snipes (“Blade”) as two undefeated boxers who land in the same prison (see “Sara, Simone Catfight; Snipes, Rhames Duke It Out In Theaters” ), fell out of the top 10 in its second week of release, landing at #12 with $3.1 million for an overall total of $9 million.