Pottermania's powerful charisma

Seventh, final book, fifth movie a worldwide phenomenon

Harry Potter reigned supreme over the weekend. As muggles lined up around the world to buy the seventh and final book of the phenomenal J.K. Rowling series, the fifth film adaptation, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" brought in $102.5 million in its second weekend in the overseas market, providing a 12-day international cume of $353.2 million. Almost 14 million wizard fans turned out at 13,000 screens in 58 territories, according to distributor Warner Bros. Pictures International.

The film version of the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," already has been booked in foreign markets for 2010, and the sixth installment, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," is scheduled for release in November 2008.

Harry enjoyed his biggest welcome ever in Japan as "Order of the Phoenix" racked up $18.6 million from 951 prints, including three days of previews before the Friday opening, according to Warner Bros.

The four-day opening that started Thursday in Russia ($7.3 million from 532 prints) was hailed as the biggest Warner Bros. opening day ever in the market as well as the biggest opening weekend for the Harry Potter franchise. The debut in Israel ($663,500 from 33) marked the best opening ever for the franchise there and the fourth biggest bow ever in the market.

As is common with huge saturation openings, large percentage drops are expected as hit films move into holdover brackets. Despite a 49% drop in the U.K., "Phoenix" had no trouble holding the No. 1 position for a second weekend, with a $13.5 million from 1,390 prints for a market cume to date of $60.7 million. It also retained the No. 1 position in almost all key markets. Germany, off just 34%, took in $10.4 million from 1,345 screens for a market cume to date of $35.4 million; France, down $48%, took in $9 million from 950 for a market take of $29.38 million; Italy, off $57%, tallied $2.8 million for a market cume of $18.6 million; while Spain, off 55%, earned $3 million from 607 for a market cume of $17 million.

In the Asia/Pacific area, "Phoenix" ranked No. 1 in Australia despite a 60% drop from its opening weekend, with a second weekend take of $4.5 million and a new market cume of $22.1 million. It dropped to No. 2 in Korea, falling behind the opening of "Die Hard 4.0," and in Mexico, where it gave way to "Transformers." But it held on to its top position in Brazil with $2.4 million (cume: $11.8 million), declining just 39%.

The other blockbusters of summer continued to maintain a record-setting pace, with Paramount/DreamWorks' "Transformers" increasing its international cume to $190.6 million after taking in $32 million over the weekend from 4,202 screens in 39 countries. In a preview in the U.K., "Transformers" tallied $6.4 million from 442, topping the opening of New Line's "Hairspray," which scored $4.2 million from 348 screens in the film's only day-and-date bow with North America. Entertainment Distributors is handling the U.K. release of "Hairspray."

At the same time, the overseas market is preparing for another tentpole blast-off. Fox's "The Simpsons Movie," the big-screen version of the hit animated TV series, takes off in 49 territories, among them the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Australia.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox's "Die Hard 4.0" hit a solid international cume of $23.6 million over the weekend, led by a whopping six-day take of $10.9 million from 549 screens in South Korea. It was Fox's biggest opening weekend ever in the market and the industry's fourth biggest, according to Fox. The action film entered Taiwan with $1.3 million from192, arriving No. 2 on the boxoffice chart. In holdovers, "Die Hard" held the No. 2 spot in its third weekend in France, where it took in $2 million from 734 screens for a market cume of $13.4 million. Three weekends in the U.K have delivered $23 million and four in Germany, $23 million.

Among the summer tentpoles, Paramount/DreamWorks' animated hit "Shrek the Third" is still going strong, raising its cume to $382.7 million following a weekend tally of $11.7 million from 4,594 screens in 34 countries.

Pixar/Disney's "Ratatouille," which has only opened in 13 markets so far, earned $3.8 million over the weekend from 1,105 screens. This coming weekend, the film is scheduled to open in Japan and Korea and it will be arrive in Australia in September. It reaches the U.K., Germany, Italy and Scandinavia in October.

The summer's international champion to date, Disney/BVI's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" tallied another $2.8 million over the weekend from 2,919 screens in 54 markets to lift its international cume to an amazing $640.5 million. By the middle of the coming week, Buena Vista International expects "Pirates 3" to surpass the $642.2 million earned by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and become the fourth-biggest film ever in the international market.

"Ocean's Thirteen" pulled in $2.8 million to raise its cume to $154.9 million, with the U.K. delivering $25.8 million of that total; "Knocked Up," after three weekends in Australia, held the No. 3 spot on the boxoffice chart with a total of $9.1 million; "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" recorded $1.4 million for a cume to date of $107.9 million; and "Pathfinder" opened in Spain to $1.2 million from 274.
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