According to The Hollywood Reporter, In a surprisingly strong late-summer showing, Miramax's Hero conquered audiences in North America and easily captured first place this weekend with an estimated $17.8 million at the boxoffice. The debut for the Jet Li starrer, from writer-director Zhang Yimou, was the second-biggest opening of all time for a foreign-language film after Newmarket's The Passion of the Christ.

Slithering into the second spot was Screen Gem's Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. The relatively low-budget sequel from director Dwight Little wrapped up an estimated $13.2 million in its debut, in the area expected and slightly less than the $16.6 million of the original film.

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The frame's only other wide releases were Paramount's Suspect Zero and Sony's Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 from Triumph -- both films opened unspectacularly to less than $4 million each.

"Suspect," a crime thriller starring Ben Kingsley, Aaron Eckhart and Carrie-Anne Moss and directed by Elias Merhige, which cost less than $10 million, was in the 10th spot with an estimated $3.4 million. While "Superbabies," a family-aimed comedy helmed by Bob Clark, that also carried a low budget, placed 11th with an estimated $3.3 million.