Don't count Tom Hanks among those in Hollywood calling Sam Mendes's critically acclaimed period drama Road to Perdition a box office disappointment. "There's nothing worse than having a movie make $100 million," deadpans the two-time Oscar champ, who played a conflicted gangster in the summer release. "That really stings."

Given Perdition's glowing reviews, not to mention Hanks's immense clout at the multiplex, industry pundits had greater expectations for the gloomy crime saga. In fact, some believe the pic's weak receipts are to blame for its poor Golden Globe showing. (Paul Newman received Perdition's sole nomination.)

"I guess because it didn't do Forrest Gump's business [it's being perceived as a disappointment]," reasons Hanks. "I think it's a very beautiful art-house film that actually did fine at the box office, domestically and worldwide. We never anticipated it being a big, fat, massive thing. We were trying to do something different and I think we succeeded. I think it's a very compelling movie."

All told, Hanks still had a rather successful 2002. For starters, he served as a producer (along with wife Rita Wilson) on one of the most profitable films in Hollywood history: My Big Fat Greek Wedding. "It seems to have worked out," he winks. And all signs seem to suggest that his latest movie, Steven Spielberg's breezy mistaken-identity yarn Catch Me if You Can (opening Christmas Day), will put him back on the path to fiscal glory.

"I know a good role when I read one," he says of his his Catch alter ego, an FBI agent in hot pursuit of Leonardo DiCaprio. "Who wouldn't want to be the catalyst for a film? You can't have a mouse without a cat."