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Talk about a bestseller.
Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 has book-ended the lucrative Thanksgiving play period by repeating at No. 1 in the weekend box office while feasting on an estimated $50.3 million during the latest frame. That represented a 60% decline from its the previous weekend but was more than enough to outpace four wide openers while pushing the book-inspired action fantasy’s cumulative box office to $220.4 million through just 10 days in domestic release.
Tangled, a 3D animated adventure based on the Rapunzel fable, was easily the top grosser among the new pictures with a surprisingly strong $49.1 million in second place and a $69 million cume since unspooling Wednesday in the biggest Disney-branded animated debut in years. The other three debutantes posted much less impressive tallies:
— Sony Screen Gem’s song- and dance-filled Burlesque kicked up $11.8 million in fourth place during the weekend for a $17.2 million cume since its midweek bow.
— Fox’s romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs copped $9.9 million in sixth place for the three days and a five-day cume of $14 million.
— CBS Films’ Dwayne Johnson actioner Faster fetched $8.6 million in seventh place for a $12.2 million cume.
Collectively, the weekend top 10 rung up $170.5 million, or 1% less than top performers in the same frame last year, Rentrak said. That means the holiday box-office has started off with two year-over-year downticks, despite the hefty Potter contributions.
Hollywood will have to look to the balance of the season for some lift it it’s to post an admissions uptick this year, as its 2% improvement in year-to-date box office falls well short of matching a roughly 5% increase in ticket prices. Only Relativity’s martial arts Western The Warrior’s Way opens wide on Friday, with most studios avoiding a session traditionally marked by heavy preoccupation with holiday shopping.
Among the most recent weekend’s limited openers, the Weinstein Co. unspooled period drama The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, with just four playdates but grossed $349,791, or a stellar $87,448 per engagement as the early awards candidate sold out most performances throughout the holiday span.
Freestyle Releasing’s The Nutcracker in 3D debuted in 42 locations to ring up $68,208, or a poor $1,624 per site, with cume of $89, 208 since its Wednesday bow.
Notable expansions included Fox Searchlight mountain-climbing survival drama 127 Hours, which added 108 theaters for a total 293 to collect $1.7 million. That represented a sturdy $5,887 per venue for a $4.4 million cume.
Sony Pictures Classics expanded its Sally Hawkins starrer Made in Dagenham by eight playdates for a total 11 to gross $63,021, or a solid $5,729 per engagement with cume of $123,441.
The previous Potter picture — July 2009 opener Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — conjured $77.8 million during its first three days and $302 million in total U.S. and Canadian coin. The franchise marked its previous best opening in November 2005, when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire debuted with $102.7 million, while the $317.6 million fetched by the original Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone remains its biggest domestic total to date.
Deathly Hallows Part 1 remains on course for a possible $400 million-plus domestic run.
“It’s leading all the prior Potters so far,” Warners exec vp distribution Jeff Goldstein noted.
The latest Potter weekend featured $5.8 million in contributions by high-grossing Imax specialty venues,
Co-directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, Tangled drew audiences comprised 61% of females, with 53% of patrons under age 25. The pic’s 2,461 3D venues contributed 56% of its opening box office, with many of the 3D venues selling out and forcing some patrons to buy tickets to 2D auditoriums.
“This was an unbelievable collaboration between the filmmakers, the marketing guys and the distribution guys,” Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said. “The filmmakers let us in early on, so we could get our arms around the movie. And then because the movie plays so well, they let us have a big screening program in advance of the opening.”
Tangled‘s outsize start puts in on course potentially for a theatrical run similar to Disney’s $206.4 million grosser Ratatouille, which bowed in June 2007 with $47 million. Its first five days posted the biggest tally over that span of holiday play time since 1999’s Toy Story 2, which took in a record $80.1 million between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterwards.
Burlesque audiences were comprised 69% of females, with 54% of patrons aged 25 or older.
“It’s a really good start,” Sony distribution topper Rory Bruer said. “And the movie is a real crowd-pleaser, so it should do well moving ahead.”
Love audiences skewed 63% female, with 60% of patrons aged 25 or older.
“I think people will catch up with this movie,” Fox senior vp distribution Chris Aronson said. “It’s a marathon not a sprint.”
The first CBS Films release since last April, Faster attracted audiences comprised 57% of males, with a similar 57% of patrons age 25 or older.
“It’s in line with our expectations,” CBS Films distribution boss Steven Friedlander said. “We wanted to cover our production costs, which at $12 million we’ve done.”
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival