Harry Potter's Magic Bewitches North American Box Office

Published November 27th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The year’s hottest movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, has conjured up new records at the North American box office, raking in 82.4 million dollars in just five days over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

The richly magical Warner Brothers fantasy notched up the most profitable week in movie history and also took the record as the motion picture to most swiftly reach -- and surpass -- the 150 million-dollar mark in box office takings. 

With millions of "Muggles" -- Potter jargon for non-magical folk -- crowding into theatres in the United States and Canada, the film grossed 57.5 million dollars in the three days from Friday and 186.9 million dollars since its November 16 release. 

"Harry Potter has set new records this weekend, is doing well every day, and I think it will continue to do so into Christmas," said Paul Dergarabedian of Exhibitor Relations, a Los Angeles-based box office analyst group. 

The 125 million-dollar film nudged the 1999 animated film Toy Story 2 from the box office podium by just pipping its three-day Thanksgiving weekend record of 57.3 million dollars and its five-day record of 80.1 million. 

Harry's magic helped the picture to hit the 150 million-dollar mark two days faster than the last title holder, "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace," which hit the record after 10 days in 1999, Dergarabedian said. 

While last weekend's takings have dropped off by 35 percent from Harry Potter's opening weekend record, the film could breach the 200 million-dollar mark later this week and hit 300 million by Christmas, analysts said. 

But the picture, which has sparked a cultural phenomenon across the world, has a long way to go before it catches up with the best-performing film of all time, Titanic, which has taken 600 million dollars since its 1997 release. 

In second place in the three-day weekend box office stakes was the animated feature Monsters Inc., which took 24 million dollars in its fourth week in the continent's theaters, a rise of 4.3 percent over last weekend. 

The Universal Pictures thriller Spy Games, starring heartthrobs Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, came in third, with takings of 21.6 million dollars in its first weekend in cinemas -- AFP 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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