Warner Bros. Gives Thanks for Potter

John Hamann's Weekend Wrap-Up

November 25, 2001

Surprise, surprise. Harry Potter is the number one film again at the box office and is still the runaway train that everyone wants it to be. Only problem is, the train seems to be dragging Disney and Monsters, Inc. along with it.

According to a Warner Bros. press release, Harry Potter broke 11 records last weekend. How many records did Potter break this weekend? Well, one, but it's really close to another that has been in the 20th Century Fox family for quite a few years. Tuesday, Harry Potter will try to become the first film to gross $200 million after only 12 days of release. The previous record was held by Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a Fox release, which grossed $200 million in 13 days; previously the record was held by Independence Day ($200 million in 21 days), also a Fox release.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was the number one film at the box office this weekend with a fantastic three-day weekend gross of $58.55 million from 3,672 screens, for a still mighty average of $15,945. The weekend gross raises the box office total for Potter to $188.1 million over the ten-day period. Potter should break $200 million on Tuesday, in its 12th day. The Friday gross was estimated at $22.11 million, down only 30% from the record set for opening day gross last Friday when Potter grossed $31.6 million. Potter had another successful Saturday, doing about the same amount of business as it did on Friday. Over the five-day US Thanksgiving Weekend, Potter grossed $83.49 million, a new record for Thanksgiving weekends. This record was originally set by Toy Story 2, which grossed about $80 million over the five-day period.

With just under $200 million in the kitty after its second week, Potter is already set to pass the total box office of such films as Pearl Harbor and Toy Story. Potter will enter the top 40 of all time this week, and will be in the top 25 by the end of next weekend.

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While it's tough to gauge the legs of a box office monstrosity like this one, a drop this week had to be expected. Screens were most likely allocated in many different places this weekend, which doesn't affect the venue count or the print count, but does effect how many actual screenings take place over the weekend. It took the Phantom Menace 28 days to reach the $300 million mark, a record Potter should easily beat given its much larger opening weekend. Next weekend will be an excellent indicator of what Potter's final box office result will be.

Holding strongly in second was the Harry Potter afterthought, Monsters, Inc. from Disney and Pixar. The kids flick grossed $24.53 million over the three-day period and $33.1 million over the five-day long weekend. Monsters ran on 3,649 screens this weekend for a fourth week screen average of $6,714. Monsters Inc. was up 8% from its three day gross last week, where it was mainly roadkill in the path of the mighty Harry Potter. While many think of Potter as a hindrance for Monsters, Inc., its total now stands at $192.8 million on its way to $250 million. The best place to advertise is in the theatre, and Disney's eye catching promotions (don't excuse the pun) are really working. Monsters, Inc. has now passed the total gross of Toy Story ($191.8m), and will now take on Aladdin ($217.35 million) and Toy Story 2 ($245.8 million) for the second spot on the Disney all-time chart behind The Lion King ($312 million).

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Third spot went to our first new entry on the chart this week, the Brad Pitt - Robert Redford film Spy Game. The spy thriller grossed $21.6 million over the three-day portion of the weekend, and $30.5 million over the five-day portion. Spy Game controlled 2,761 screens for an average of $7,798. Both of the stars in this film were in need of a hit, as Redford's last one was The Horse Whisperer, and Pitt's last was Se7en way back in 1995. Spy Game filled a large genre niche this weekend and gave the adult moviegoer something to get behind. Reviews and Cinemascores were both good for the Universal release.

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While not a number one opener like usual for Universal Films, Spy Game adds another success story to the 2001 roster for the movie studio. While the market share award may not go to Universal this year due to Mr. Potter and his friends at WB, Universal can make the claim that they've had the most successful year of releases. Of ten releases, seven will make the grade in terms of profitability, which isn't heard of often in Hollywood these days. The year isn't over yet in Universal territory either. A Beautiful Mind, the Oscar hopeful starring Russell Crowe, hits theatres just before Christmas and will probably be a nice gift for Universal at the box office as well.

Fourth spot went to the new flick from Martin Lawrence, Black Knight. The 20th Century Fox release grossed $11.66 million over the three-day portion of the weekend and $16.06 million over the five-day portion. Black Knight has to be another disappointment for Martin Lawrence after opening What's The Worst Thing That Could Happen in June to $13 million and dragging it to just over $30 million, which came after he opened Big Momma's House to $25 million. Black Knight opened on 2,570 screens and had a screen average of $4,535.

Fifth went to the other Fox comedy in release this weekend, Shallow Hal. Hal scored $8.96 million over the three day portion of the weekend and $12.52 million over the five-day portion. The Farrelly Brothers film had a screen average of $3,390 from 2643 screens and has box office total of $55.4 million. How does Shallow Hal hold up against the other Farrelly Brothers films in terms of legs? It won't reach the grosses of Me, Myself and Irene or There's Something About Mary, but does better the grosses of their last two flops combined, Say It Isn't So and the not completely terrible, Osmosis Jones.

Sixth spot went to OutCOLD, the new teen ski comedy from Touchstone Pictures. OutCOLD got left in the cold, grossing $4.67 million over the three-day and $6.9 million over the five-day portion of the weekend. Touchstone must be disappointed with this open although production value was probably extremely low; the studio seemed to spend the money saved on excessive TV ads. OutCOLD had a screen average of $2,337, and will most likely quickly disappear.

The John Travolta flick Domestic Disturbance landed in seventh, grossing $4.15 million over the three-day and $5.5 million over the five-day. The thriller was down 23% in the face of Spy Game, and its total stands at $40 million.

In eighth was another intrigue film, The Heist. The David Mamet flick grossed $3.29 million form Friday to Sunday and $4.28 from Wednesday to Friday. The Heist was down 30% and has now grossed $20.2 million.

The always tight ninth and tenth spots belonged to The One with Jet Li and Life as a House with Kevin Kline. The One came out on top with $2.2 million and Life as a House settled for tenth with $2.13 million.

In limited release this weekend, Amélie continued to grow on art screens across North America, grossing $1.85 million in its third weekend, quietly bringing its total to $7.8 million. Also, Sidewalks of New York opened on 99 screens grossing $.57 million and In The Bedroom opened to $95,000 from four screens.

The total for the top 12 this week was $145.38 million down 13.04% from the year ago period when Unbreakable and 102 Dalmatians opened to $30.3 million and $19.9 million respectively over the three day portion of last years Thanksgiving Weekend. Compared to last weekend's record breaking grosses the overall box office was down 4.5%.

Next week things slow down quite a bit, with only one new wide release reaching theatres next weekend. That release is the aptly timed Behind Enemy Lines with Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. The Affair of the Necklace and Texas Rangers also open, albeit only in limited release.

Top 10 for Weekend of November 23-25, 2001
Number of Sites
Change in Sites from Last
Estimated Gross ($)
Cumulative Gross ($)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Monsters, Inc.
Spy Game
Black Knight
11 .66
Shallow Hal
Domestic Disturbance
The One
Life as a House



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