''Hero'' lived up to its name at the box office this weekend, claiming the top spot to become the second No. 1 foreign-language film of the year.
Six months after the debut of ''The Passion of the Christ,'' which was in Latin and Aramaic, Jet Li's action thriller premiered with $17.8 million domestically, after a mega-successful international run in 2002. ''Hero'''s tally, however, was lower than the $18.1 million of last week's top film, ''Exorcist: The Beginning.''
The sequel ''Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid'' had to settle for second place despite opening in almost 1,000 more theaters than ''Hero.'' ''Anacondas''' $13.2 million gross is a bit lower than the $16.6 million debut of the original, which starred Jennifer Lopez, in 1997.
The goofy comedy ''Without a Paddle'' slipped a surprisingly low 36 percent from its debut last weekend, placing third with $8.7 million, while ''The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement'' dropped 38 percent to $8.1 million. Meanwhile, ''Exorcist'' plummeted 63 percent to only $6.7 million in its second weekend.
The week's two other new wide releases tanked: The thriller ''Suspect Zero'' grossed $3.4 million (10th place), while the sequel ''Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2'' placed 11th, with $3.3 million. Maybe they should have dubbed their dialogue into Chinese.