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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

North American box office: ‘Harry Potter’ whips up multiplex magic

The Half-Blood Prince opens huge, but not quite as huge as it could have:

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: $77.8 million (NEW)
2. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: $17.6 million (3rd week; drops 36%)
3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: $13.7 million (4th week; drops 44%)
4. Bruno: $8.32 million (2nd week; drops 73%)
5. The Proposal: $8.29 million

actual numbers, not estimates
The sixth Harry Potter flick ended up coming in slightly under the Sunday estimates once the final numbers were in late Monday, mirroring its performance since opening with thousands of sold-out Tuesday midnight screenings last week and taking a fairly steep dive after that. After Wednesday’s phenomenal $58 million opening day (which includes those midnight screenings), it took in $22 million on Thursday, $26.8 million on Friday, $29.2 million on Saturday, and $21.8 million on Sunday.

Not that that’s not spectacular, but its five-day take of $158 million puts it “only” at No. 6 on the all-time five-day openings, unadjusted for inflation.

It’s astonishing, too, to see how many films are hanging tough. Transformers 2 is over $350 million in North America now; Up is touching $280 million; The Hangover is closing in on $240 million; Ice Age 2 has passed $150 million; The Proposal has passed $125 million.

Still, the overall box office is down a whopping 60 percent over the same weekend last year, when The Dark Knight earned as much in three days as Harry Potter 6 did in its first five days. (The Batman flick holds the five-day record opening, at $203.7 million.)

In news of the ignominious, Bruno took one of the biggest second-week drops ever: 72.8 percent. That’s at No. 30 on the all-time list, percentage wise, but only one movie ranked above it had a bigger opening weekend, this year’s Friday the 13th remake, which opened at $40.6 million and dropped more than 80 percent the next weekend.

Harry Potter’s per-screen average of $17,997 (at 4,325 locations) was totally whomped by 500 Days of Summer’s $30,907 (on 27 screens)… and even harsher, perhaps, is that the No. 3 flick, per-screen-wise, wasn’t far behind at $14,405 (1 screen): the retro sci-fi sendup Alien Trespass, in its 16th week of release. Weird.

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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