For the boy wizard of Hogwarts, the fourth time was an even bigger charm than the third.
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" conjured up an estimated $101.4 million in business Friday through Sunday, Warner Bros. reported, handily surpassing the franchise's previous opening weekend high -- $93.7 million in June 2004 for the third film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 22, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Imax executive -- An article in Monday's Calendar section about the weekend box office revenue for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" identified Greg Foster as Imax chairman. Foster is chairman and president of Imax Filmed Entertainment.
It was enough to push the weekend box office to $183 million, but not nearly enough to reverse the curse bedeviling Hollywood this year: Overall year- to-date grosses are down 6% over last year, while admissions are lagging 8% over 2004, according to the tracking services Nielsen EDI and Exhibitor Relations.
The money gap translates to just under half a billion dollars, which is probably too great a distance to narrow by year's end, even with two of 2005's biggest event pictures still waiting in the wings -- "King Kong" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
Landing in second place was "Walk the Line" -- a biographical movie about Johnny Cash starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as the love of his life, June Carter -- which grossed a healthy $22.4 million, 20th Century Fox reported.
The critically well-received movie is already generating Oscar buzz for Phoenix. "Walk the Line" outperformed last year's musical biopic and awards season hopeful, "Ray," which opened with $20 million at the end of October 2004 and went on to gross $75.3 million and win a best actor Oscar for Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Ray Charles.
But the weekend belonged to Harry Potter, not just in the U.S. and Canada but in 19 international territories as well, where Warner Bros. reported the movie took in an estimated $80 million, for a worldwide weekend total of more than $181 million.
Earning the best reviews yet for the Harry Potter franchise, "Goblet" also was the second-biggest opening this year after the $108.4 million for "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith" in mid-May. The Potter films rank as the fourth-most-successful movie franchise domestically, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, after the six "Star Wars" movies, the long-running James Bond series and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. That said, the success of "The Goblet of Fire" will likely push the Potter series to third place, eclipsing the "Rings" trio total.
As the audience grows up along with the Potter characters and cast, Warner President of Distribution Dan Fellman said, demographics are "skewing a little older now." The level of intensity has increased as well, but the resulting PG-13 rating doesn't appear to have diminished the stories' appeal. As younger fans reach age 12, they also must pay higher ticket prices, which no doubt contributed to the box office haul.
Breaking down those age statistics for "Goblet," Fellman said 10% of moviegoers were children under age 12, 20% were parents of kids ages 5 to 14, 32% were teens, and nonfamily ticket-buyers 18 and older made up 38% of the audience.
In terms of gender, the film "skewed a little bit female," Fellman said. "Eventually, we think it will be closer to 50-50."
The movie also established records for Imax.
"Goblet," which was playing on 66 Imax screens, took in $2.8 million, besting the previous weekend Imax record of $2.2 million set by "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" this past summer as well as setting a single-day record of $1.06 million on Friday.
Interestingly, in addition to its appeal to families, the ultra-large-screen version attracted what Imax Chairman Greg Foster described as "a techno crowd, a strong teenage crowd coming to see this movie, particularly 15- to 24-year-old males," which have proved increasingly elusive for Hollywood and TV networks.
That was also the case with previous movies released in the Imax format, Foster said, including "Batman Returns," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and the 3-D version of "The Polar Express," which returns to more than 60 Imax locations Wednesday, the day after the movie comes out on DVD.
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Preliminary results (in millions) based on studio projections.
*--* Movie 3-day gross Total Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire $101.4 $101.4
Walk the Line 22.4 22.4
Chicken Little 14.8 99.2
Derailed 6.5 21.8
Zathura 5.1 20.3
Jarhead 4.8 54.3
Get Rich or Die Tryin' 4.4 24.5
Saw II 3.9 79.9
The Legend of Zorro 2.3 42.8
Pride & Prejudice 2.1 6.0
Source: Nielsen EDI Inc.
Los Angeles Times
Harry Potter Inc.
With 119.5 million copies of the various books in print in the U.S. and 300 million worldwide, the movie version of the fourth of J.K. Rowling's whopper bestselling adventures, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," landed in theaters on a wave of anticipation that had been building for weeks. A look at the boy wizard's movie exploits:
Box office (In millions of dollars)
*--* Opening wknd Domestic International Total Harry Potter $90.3 ('01) $317.6 $658.9 $976.5 and...Sorcerer's Stone Chamber of Secrets 88.4 ('02) 262.0 614.7 876.7 Prisoner of Azkaban 93.7 ('04) 249.5 540.3 789.8 Goblet of Fire 101.4* ('05)
Worldwide theatrical total for the first three films: $2.64 billion
*Warner Bros. estimates for opening weekend
U.S. video sales through October (in millions)
*--* DVD VHS Total % DVD Est. total revenue Harry Potter and . . . Sorcerer's 11.9 9.0 20.9 57% $371.2 Stone ('02) Chamber of Secrets ('03) 12.8 3.7 16.5 78% 291.8 Prisoner Azkaban ('04) 11.1 0.9 12.0 92% 214.7 Harry Potter collections 0.7 0.03 0.73 96% 31.9 Total video sales Potter franchise 36.4 13.6 50.0 73% 909.6
Sources: BoxofficeMojo.com, Home Media Research