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Weekend Box Office

Monster Weekend for 'Hannibal'

February 13, 2001|ROBERT W. WELKOS

It's a sequel. It doesn't have the requisite blockbuster stars. And its central character is, of all things, a cannibal.

But "Hannibal," the sequel to the Oscar-winning film, "The Silence of the Lambs," set all sorts of records this past weekend, devouring the competition with $58 million in ticket sales.

The film, in which Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as arch-villain Dr. Hannibal Lecter, not only had the third-biggest opening in Hollywood history behind "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" ($72.1 million) and "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace" ($64.8 million), but had the biggest February opening of any film, eclipsing "Scream 3" ($34.7 million), became the best R-rated movie opener, beating out "Scary Movie" ($42.3 million), and is now the best opening of any MGM film. If that wasn't enough, said MGM distribution chief Larry Gleason, the film had the biggest opening of any American film ever released in Italy, grossing nearly $5 million over the weekend.

Gleason said 60% of the audience was over 25 with women and men split almost evenly--51% female and 49% male. Exit polls showed that about one-third of the audience said they came to see the picture because of "The Silence of the Lambs."

Gleason theorized that in the decade since the first film, Hannibal Lecter has been spoofed so much on "Saturday Night Live" and become so popular on video that a certain mystique has grown around the villain. "Hannibal became a pretty recognizable villain in American folklore," Gleason said.

"Saving Silverman," the only other major studio release to open, grossed $7.4 million.

Meanwhile, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" became the highest-grossing foreign-language film released in the U.S. with $60.3 million, replacing "Life Is Beautiful" with $57.6 million.

Weekend Box Office

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Three-day gross/ Screens/ Weeks in Movie (Studio) Total (millions) Average Release 1. "Hannibal" $58.0 3,230 1 (MGM) $58.0 $17,958 2. "The Wedding Planner" $7.7 2,726 3 (Sony/Columbia) $37.9 $2,826 3. "Saving Silverman" $7.4 2,467 1 (Sony/Columbia) $7.4 $3,004 4. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" $5.4 1,204 10 (Sony Classics) $60.3 $4,489 5. "Cast Away" $5.2 2,347 8 (Fox) $209.8 $2,197 6. "Save the Last Dance" $4.8 2,506 5 (Paramount) $74.5 $1,922 7. "Traffic" $4.4 1,740 7 (USA Films) $70.9 $2,547 8. "Valentine" $3.8 2,310 2 (Warner Bros.) $15.9 $1,656 9. "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" $3.1 835 8 (Disney/Touchstone) $21.1 $3,708 10. "Chocolat" $3.07 1,148 9 (Miramax) $26.6 $2,676

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SOURCE: Exhibitor Relations Co.

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