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<i>Red Dragon</i> Tops US Most Popular Movie List


A serial killer thriller still takes the biggest box office bite at North American movie theaters; but three romantic comedies are also drawing big audiences. Alan Silverman lists the week's top five films starting with a comic look at love and family at number five.

Star and writer Nia Vardalos based My Big Fat Greek Wedding on her own life experience and how her Greek-American family reacted when she met and married her non-Greek husband. The little film that keeps on going, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, ends up in fifth place.

A high-energy action film debuts at number four.

Things rarely stay quiet for long for The Transporter, starring Jason Statham as a deadly underworld courier.

"He's an ex-military guy that kind of enjoys the quiet life," explains Statham," "and he seeks thrills from getting involved with low-level criminals. He still likes to get an adrenaline rush and that's how he feeds his appetite for that. It also makes him a living and that's the way he exists."

Directed by Hong Kong action filmmaker Cory Yuen, The Transporter delivers fourth place in its first week out.

Also new this week: Brown Sugar, a romance set in the world of hip hop and rap music.

Sanaa Lathan plays a journalist and music producer Taye Diggs is her childhood pal. They renew their friendship as adults, but it's clear to everyone (except them, of course) that they're really in love and meant for one another. Diggs says he was drawn to the romance of upscale black urban professionals.

"It was a romantic comedy with a twist and in my reading scripts it's so rare that you find something that hadn't been done before," says Diggs. "This take on hip hop, especially because hip hop is so mainstream now.... that's what excited me about it."

Brown Sugar has a sweet opening in third place.

Another romantic comedy is held over at number two. Reese Witherspoon stars as a small town southern girl who makes it big in New York, but realizes she left her heart back in Sweet Home Alabama.

Sweet Home Alabama remains in second place; but number one belongs to the thriller Red Dragon the third film featuring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, the seductive serial killer he first played in Silence of the Lambs.

"What I find attractive about Lecter is that, although this guy is a killer and monster there's a great depth to him," says Hopkins. "I met a man recently who can get inside people. He's a psychologist and he can open people up, get into you and sort you out very quickly. That's a gift and I think Lecter has that gift."

Edward Norton co-stars as the FBI agent who needs Lecter's help to catch another murderer.

Also featuring Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watson, Red Dragon remains on top. For the second straight week it's the most popular movie at North American theaters.

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