Harry Potter and the Box Office of Plenty

by | November 21, 2005 | Comments

It’s no big shock that the fourth entry in the "Harry Potter" series was, far and away, the number one draw at the weekend box office. But the flick turned out to have the fourth biggest box office weekend in the history of moviedom: Harry snagged over $101 million from nearly 3,900 North American screens … in only three days!

Harry’s big weekend falls right behind "Spider-Man," "Revenge of the Sith," and "Shrek 2" for biggest openings ever.

Checking in at second place with a distant (yet fairly impressive) $22.4 million was James Mangold‘s Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line," which did fine business from just under 3,000 screens.

The rest of the top five consisted of hangers-on, including Disney’s "Chicken Little" ($14.7 million weekend; $99.1 million overall), the Weinsteins’ "Derailed" ($6.5m, $21.8m), and Sony’s "Zathura" ($5.1m, $20.2m).

But back to Mr. Potter for a second. Here’s how Variety breaks down some of the magically delicious numbers:

""Potter’s" perf shaved a point off the year’s overall B.O. deficit compared with 2004; it now stands at 6%.

Despite the first PG-13 rating for a "Potter" pic, demos for "Goblet of Fire" were similar to 2004’s "Azkaban." Kids made up 42% of the aud, with parents another 20% and non-family adults 38%.

"This is the biggest weekend in Warner Bros. history," noted WB distrib prexy Dan Fellman. "With three more (Potter pics) to go, we’re looking forward to leaving more marks in the record books."

"Potter" reached the stratosphere without setting any one-day records. First-day take of $39.4 million does tie it with "Spider-Man" for the biggest Friday ever, but that’s the seventh highest opening day in history.

In a promising sign for playability, "Goblet of Fire" declined only 10% to $35.5 million on Saturday.

The first three "Potter" pics bowed with, in order, $90.3 million, $88.4 million and $93.7 million, with the first two opening in November 2001 and 2002 and the third in June 2004.

"Goblet of Fire" made $2.8 million on 66 Imax screens over the weekend, giving it a per-play average of $42,951. That’s the highest ever in the giant-screen format, just beating the $2.7 million record set by "The Polar Express.""

As is usually the case, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving offers a whole bunch of new cinematic choices. The day after tomorrow sees the release of New Line’s rom-com "Just Friends," Sony’s long-awaited cinematic version of "Rent," Focus’ dark ensemble comedy "The Ice Harvest," the family farce "Yours, Mine and Ours," and a teen-centric crime comedy called "In the Mix."

For a closer look at Harry’s magical box office spell, take a visit to the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page. (And have a great holiday weekend!)

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