Box Office Preview

'Hero' Worship

Jet Li's ''Hero'' will prevail. The martial-arts epic will be only the second foreign-language film to top the box office this year

Ziyi Zhang, Hero (Movie - 2004) | CROUCHING MOVIE, HIDDEN BOX OFFICE Zhang costars with Li in ''Hero''
CROUCHING MOVIE, HIDDEN BOX OFFICE Zhang costars with Li in ''Hero''

Can Jet Li's ''Hero'' become the second foreign-language film to top the box office chart this year? It could happen. ''The Passion of the Christ'' proved that you don't have to speak English to claim the No. 1 spot. Now, ''Hero,'' starring Jet Li and ''Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'' breakout Zhang Ziyi, could bring in enough action fans to emerge victorious. It may be a close race against that ''Anaconda'' sequel, but ''Hero'' could fight its way to the top with $15 million.

Meanwhile, ''Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid,'' may not boast ''Anaconda'' stars Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube, but it is a recognizable title that should spawn a $12 million debut.

Last week's No. 1 film, ''Exorcist: The Beginning,'' will slip considerably from its $18.1 million opening to about $8 million, while ''Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement'' and ''Without a Paddle'' will duke it out with the new Aaron Eckhart-Ben Kingsley thriller ''Suspect Zero,'' all of which should gross around $7 million.

The week's other new wide release is the sequel ''Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2,'' costarring, of all people, Jon Voight (who also appeared in the original ''Anaconda''!). But a general lack of interest means it'll likely open outside the top five with about $6 million. Couldn't he have finagled himself a part in ''Anacondas'' instead?

Originally posted Aug 26, 2004