BY: David Germain
LOS ANGELES – A fairy-tale princess gave young wizard Harry Potter a run for his money at the weekend box office.
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1‘ remained the No. 1 movie with $50.3 million over Thanksgiving weekend, closely followed by the animated musical ‘Tangled’ with $49.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The next-to-last ‘Harry Potter’ movie raised its domestic total to $220.4 million after just 10 days in theaters, according to distributor Warner Bros. The film also has taken in $389.2 million overseas, giving it a worldwide total of $609.6 million.
‘Tangled‘ is the latest Disney cartoon musical, with Mandy Moore providing the voice of fairy-tale princess Rapunzel. The movie raised its five-day total to $69 million since opening the day before Thanksgiving.
While ‘Deathly Hallows’ continued to work box-office magic, Disney’s ‘Tangled’ far exceeded industry expectations, delivering the second-biggest Thanksgiving debut ever behind ‘Toy Story 2,’ which had a $57.4 million opening.
Disney head of distribution Chuck Viane said the studio would have been happy if “Tangled” had matched the $34 million debut of its hit “Enchanted” over Thanksgiving 2007. “Tangled” not only shot past that mark but also challenged “Harry Potter” for the No. 1 spot.
“That was the last thing we were thinking of, but it sure is nice to be even thought of in that situation,” Viane said. “‘Potter’ is such a huge hit. To be that close, it was amazing.”
Three other new wide releases had so-so openings, led by Christina Aguilera and Cher’s song-and-dance tale “Burlesque” at No. 4 with $11.8 million for the weekend and a five-day total of $17.2 million since premiering Wednesday.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway’s romance “Love & Other Drugs” debuted at No. 6 with a three-day haul of $9.9 million and a total of $14 million since opening Wednesday.
Dwayne Johnson’s action tale “Faster” opened at No. 7 with $8.7 million for the weekend and $12.2 million since its Wednesday debut.
With a $125 million opening weekend, ‘Deathly Hallows’ had the biggest start yet for the franchise about the young wizard. Its 10-day total also surpasses the previous high of $201 million set by “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and last year’s ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’ according to Warner Bros.
“That kind of tells you how big the last ‘Potter’ is going to be,” said Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager for Warner Bros. “If you look at films like ‘Lord of the Rings,’ when you get to the last one, anticipation is just overwhelming.”
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,’ the final installment, hits theaters next July.
Despite big business for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Tangled,’ Hollywood fell short of the Thanksgiving revenue record set last year, when ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon‘ and ‘The Blind Side’ led the box office.
According to box-office tracker Hollywood.com, revenues from Wednesday to Sunday last Thanksgiving totaled $273 million, compared to $267 million this season.
“This one was really close. I thought we might eke out a record,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com.
Other than ‘Tangled,’ the new wide releases did not draw huge crowds, each catering to a segment of the audience.
Sony’s ‘Burlesque,’ with Aguilera as a waitress seeking stardom at a Hollywood musical club, drew women; 20th Century Fox’s ‘Love and Other Drugs,’ with Gyllenhaal as a pharmaceutical salesman who falls for an ailing woman (Hathaway), brought in date crowds; and CBS Films’ ‘Faster,’ starring Johnson as an ex-con out for revenge, attracted male action fans.
In limited release, the Weinstein Co. drama ‘The King’s Speech’ got off to a majestic start with $349,791 in four theaters in New York City and Los Angeles. That gave it a whopping average of $87,448 a theater, compared to $13,628 in 3,603 theaters for ‘Tangled.’
‘The King’s Speech’ stars Colin Firth as British monarch George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II, as he comes to power in 1936 while struggling to overcome a lifelong stammer. The film, which has early Academy Awards buzz as a potential front-runner, gradually expands to more theaters through the holidays.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” $50.3 million.
2. “Tangled,” $49.1 million.
3. “Megamind,” $12.9 million.
4. “Burlesque,” $11.8 million.
5. “Unstoppable,” $11.75 million.
6. “Love & Other Drugs,” $9.9 million.
7. “Faster,” $8.7 million.
8. “Due Date,” $7.3 million.
9. “The Next Three Days,” $4.8 million.
10. “Morning Glory,” $4 million.
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