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“Deathly Hallows” breathes life into weekend box office

It is no surprise Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was a smash hit at the weekend box office. Beginning with midnight shows across the country, the seventh installment of the long-running series garnered $125 million in ticket sales. Approximately $24 million came from the midnights alone; a record for the franchise. The Next Three Days was dead on arrival. It managed fifth place with $9.6 million.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first film in the warlock centered series released in 2001 is still the highest grossing in the “Harry Potter” franchise but perhaps not for long. The premiere movie had a $317-million domestic haul. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the most recent installment, holds the second-highest gross with $301 million. However, that film brought in only a respectable $22.2 million in 2009. That is despite opening at 200 more locations than the newest entry. Its opening weekend was also $77 million, a nearly $50-million difference.

Chew over this little tidbit: despite the success of “Harry Potter” this year, The Twilight Saga: New Moon still triumphed over it with $142 million in tickets sold same time last year. Still, by next week “Harry Potter” as a jacket will be the highest-grossing series in motion picture history. It will displace Star Wars as the most profitable franchise. The conclusion of "Harry Potter" releases in July.

All other movies paled in comparison including the only counterprogramming The Next Three Days. Fair Game rose on the charts after a couple of weeks in limited release obscurity. It clings to tenth place with $3.7 million total thus far. Megamind took a hit but held number two with $16.1 million. It became the second movie to cross the $100-million milestone on the charts. Unstoppable added $13.1 million to its load while Due Date delivered another $9.1 million.

The Top Ten

  1. 1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1- $125.1M (weekend)…$125.1M (gross)
  2. 2. Megamind - $16.1M…$109.4M
  3. 3. Unstoppable - $13.1M…$41.9M
  4. 4. Due Date - $9.1M…$72.6M
  5. 5. The Next Three Days - $6.7M…$6.7M
  6. 6. Morning Glory - $5.2M…$19.8M
  7. 7. Skyline - $3.4M …$17.6M
  8. 8. Red - $2.4M…$83.5M
  9. 9. For Colored Girls - $2.4M…$34.5M
  10. 10. Fair Game (2010) - $1.4M …$3.7M

Repeat “Harry Potter” viewings will still have a strong hold on the nation next week but four movies will open Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving activities. Buena Vista presents Tangled at 3,500 locations. Considering the state of Megamind this week, Tangled may not draw the sort of crowds it would in a different release window.

Burlesque will attempt to grab older female audiences at 2,800 cinemas. Cher, a living legend, and Christina Aguilera, a once-popular singer, join forces for a musical. The look and styling appears similar to Chicago but the story is more of a small-time girl coming to big Los Angeles and fighting her way into the stage scene. Trailers let us know this is a showcase for Christina’s voice and little more, with appearances by Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci.

Faster fills the action category while Love and Other Drugs provides the humor. Dwayne Johnson returns to his butt-kicking roots in a cliché-heavy revenge film. Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal turn casual sex into a complicated relationship in a comedy. Both movies will debut at 2,300 cinemas across the country. Precious few people will have the luxury of seeing The Weinstein Company’s Oscar bait this coming weekend. The King’s Speech, a historical drama starring Helena Bonham Carter, will arrive in only four theaters this Friday.


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