June 15, 1998 12:00 AM

“Cast Away,” starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx executive stranded on an island, turned out to have the biggest movie debut for a Christmas weekend in Hollywood history — $30.1 million, surpassing the $25.3 million record that Robin Williams’s “Patch Adams” grossed in 1998, according to industry estimates. “Cast Away” marked Hanks’s second-best opening ever, just $500,000 behind 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.” Perhaps the double Oscar-winner (for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump”), who is also being talked up for a third Academy Award for his role in “Cast Away,” had some sort of premonition about his new film’s success. On Friday, which was opening day, he was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “I’m the luckiest man in the world. I mean, yes, I have to deal with things . . . But, really, I should complain?”

Estimated box-office figures for this weekend (Fri.-Sun.):

1. “Cast Away,” $30.1 million
2. “What Women Want,” $16.3 million
3. “The Family Man,” $12.8 million
4. “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” $11.6 million
5. “Miss Congeniality,” $10.3 million
6. “The Emperor’s New Groove” $8 million
7. “Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000,” $6.5 million
8. “Dude, Where’s My Car?” $4.5 million
9. “Vertical Limit,” $4.4 million
10. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” $2.8 million

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