`Harry Potter' Tops Box Office Again

Monday, November 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ ``Harry Potter'' is laughing all the way to Gringott's Bank, where wizards stash their cash.

However, while the boy wizard conjured up record gobs of money over the Thanksgiving weekend, overall box office revenues were down compared to last year's holiday period.

``Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'' grossed $58.6 million from Friday to Sunday and $83.5 million for the five-day Thanksgiving period, pushing its total to a whopping $188.1 million in just 10 days, according to studio estimates Sunday.

That gave the film the best three-day and five-day numbers ever for a film over Thanksgiving, squeaking past the totals for ``Toy Story 2'' in its debut two years ago.

With theaters reporting solid repeat business, ``Harry Potter'' should hold well through the end of the year.

``I don't know where we're going, but wherever we're going, we're happy with it,'' said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which released ``Harry Potter.'' ``We're going to have a huge Christmas.''

``Harry Potter'' has a slim chance of matching the record for fastest film to hit $200 million. It would have to reach that level by Wednesday to tie ``Star Wars: Episode I _ The Phantom Menace,'' which hit $200 million in its first 13 days.

Despite the numbers posted by ``Harry Potter,'' the gross of $202.8 million for the top 12 movies from Wednesday to Sunday was down 12.6 percent from the same weekend a year ago. That weekend was dominated by ``Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas'' and theaters also had a strong slate of new films and holdovers, including ``Unbreakable'' and ``102 Dalmatians.''

``This wasn't a record Thanksgiving, but it was a solid one,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

``Monsters, Inc.'' is still the No. 2 movie, grossing $24.5 million from Friday to Sunday and $33.1 million for the five-day holiday period.

``Monsters'' is expected to hit $200 million by next weekend, making it the record fifth movie this year to top that mark. Besides ``Harry Potter,'' the others are ``Shrek,'' ``The Mummy Returns'' and ``Rush Hour 2.''

The previous record was 1999, which produced four $200 million films, according to Exhibitor Relations.

The espionage thriller ``Spy Game,'' starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, led this weekend's new movies, debuting at No. 3 with $21.6 million Friday to Sunday and $30.5 million for the five-day holiday.

``Black Knight,'' a time-travel comedy with Martin Lawrence hurled back to medieval England, opened in fourth place with $11.7 million Friday to Sunday and $16.1 million for the five days.

In limited release, the searing family drama ``In the Bedroom'' opened strongly in four New York City and Los Angeles theaters, grossing $95,000 Friday to Sunday for an impressive $23,750 average. Stars Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson have been heaped with praise for their performances, including a special acting award at last winter's Sundance Film Festival.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures are to be released Monday.

1. ``Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,'' $58.6 million.

2. ``Monsters, Inc.'', $24.5 million.

3. ``Spy Game,'' $21.6 million.

4. ``Black Knight,'' $11.7 million.

5. ``Shallow Hal,'' $9 million.

6. ``Out Cold,'' $4.7 million.

7. ``Domestic Disturbance,'' $4.2 million.

8. ``Heist,'' $3.3 million.

9. ``The One,'' $2.2 million.

10. ``Life as a House,'' $2.1 million.