Weekend Box Office (November 23 - 25, 2001)

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THIS WEEKEND With a record Thanksgiving weekend haul, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone easily led the North American box office over the holiday grossing more than the next three movies combined. Monsters, Inc. remained strong and the thriller Spy Game enjoyed a solid opening, but the comedies Black Knight and Out Cold met with more modest debuts.

However, overall theatrical business was down from last year when Jim Carrey's How The Grinch Stole Christmas topped the charts. The top ten films collectively grossed $195M over the five-day weekend - down 14% from last year when The Grinch and Unbreakable led the field, and down 4% from 1999 when Toy Story 2 and The World Is Not Enough ruled.

Coming of off a record opening weekend, Harry Potter collected a stellar $57.5M, according to final studio figures, in its sophomore frame and a staggering $82.4M over the long Wednesday-to-Sunday holiday stretch. The impressive figures set new three-day and five-day records for Thanksgiving weekend barely beating 1999's Toy Story 2 which collected $57.4M and $80.1M respectively during its opening session.

Down an understandable 36% from last weekend, Harry Potter watched its total gross soar to an amazing $187M making it the largest ten-day take in box office history surpassing Star Wars Episode I which collected $153.7M after its first ten days. The boy wizard also set a new benchmark for largest second-weekend gross beating the $52.1M take that The Grinch brought in during this same weekend last year.

Given its depreciation, Harry Potter should have no problem reaching $200M this week and $300M in mid-December, but the $400M level could elude the Chris Columbus film. Still, the Warner Bros. franchise launcher will soon become the highest-grossing picture of the year and should lead its studio past the $1 billion mark in year-to-date box office. Harry Potter looks to remain in the number one position for one more week before being replaced by Ocean's Eleven (another Warner Bros. release) on the weekend of December 7.

Families heading to the multiplexes over the holiday weekend helped power Disney's animated hit Monsters, Inc. to a powerful $24.1M three-day gross. With an additional 188 theaters, the Pixar-produced blockbuster was the only major release to increase its take versus last weekend with its 6% gain. After 24 days, Monsters, Inc. has collected a mammoth $192.2M putting it ahead of other computer-animated hits Shrek and Toy Story 2 which grossed $176.1M and $156.4M respectively after their fourth weekends. By Friday, Monsters, Inc. should surpass $200M making it the seventh blockbuster to reach the double-century mark in the last twelve months.

Adults looking for more serious fare spent their money on Universal's $90M espionage thriller Spy Game, starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, which opened with $21.7M over three days. Playing in 2,770 theaters, the Universal release averaged a strong $7,830 per venue and collected a solid $30.6M over the Wednesday-to-Sunday span. Redford enjoyed the best opening of his career with Spy Game which beat out the $18.4M debut of 1993's Indecent Proposal. However, that film opened in 1,076 fewer theaters when ticket prices were much lower allowing it to average a stronger $10,855 per location.

Critics generally liked the Tony Scott-directed film and audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it an encouraging B+ grade. For Brad Pitt, Spy Game delivered the second biggest opening of his career trailing the $36.4M bow of 1994's Interview with the Vampire. Over the holiday weekend, Spy Game performed much like Universal's last R-rated Thanksgiving actioner - 1999's End of Days. Arnold Schwarzenegger's millennium thriller debuted with $20.5M over three days and $31.5M over the five-day span. End of Days, also a Beacon Pictures production, went on to gross $66.9M.

Jousting into fourth place was Martin Lawrence in the new comedy Black Knight which opened with $11.1M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The Fox release played in 2,571 theaters and averaged a mediocre $4,319 per site. Rated PG-13, Black Knight finds the comedian playing a modern-day chap who travels back in time to medieval England. For years, Lawrence has seen his box office fortunes grow, but this year the actor has struggled with last summer's What's the Worst That Could Happen? which debuted with $13M and now Knight which generated even less business during its three-day opening frame. Budgeted at an estimated $30-40M, Black Knight has grossed $15.4M in five days. CinemaScore audiences gave the film a B- indicating that word-of-mouth may not be very strong in the weeks ahead.

Gwenyth Paltrow and Jack Black found themselves in fifth place with the comedy Shallow Hal which brought in $8.5M over three days. Down just 30% from last weekend, the Fox laugher has grossed $55M in 17 days.

Buena Vista witnessed a disappointing sixth place debut for its snowboarding comedy Out Cold which grossed just $4.5M over the three-day period from 2,011 theaters. Averaging a frigid $2,253 per slope, the PG-13 film featured a no-name cast and unsuccessfully targeted teens and young adults. Since its Wednesday debut, Out Cold has taken in just $6.7M.

John Travolta's child custody thriller Domestic Disturbance dropped to seventh place with $4M, off 26%, giving the Paramount release $39.8M to date. The Gene Hackman action picture Heist landed in eighth with $3.1M, down 34%, pushing the cume for the Warner Bros. film to $20M.

New Line's Kevin Kline drama Life as a House followed in ninth slipping 20% to $2.12M for a $12.2M sum. Jet Li rounded out the top ten with the sci-fi action flick The One which fell 50% to $2.08M putting its cume at $41.9M.

In limited release, Paramount Classics launched the Ed Burns romantic comedy Sidewalks of New York in 99 theaters and grossed $545,132 in three days and $678,286 over five days. Averaging a moderate $5,506 per location during the Friday-to-Sunday span, the R-rated tale will expand into 150-200 theaters next weekend.

Miramax's French comedy Amelie remained a durable hit in its fourth weekend collecting $1.8M from only 217 theaters for a robust $8,348 average. The foreign language picture added 54 new sites this weekend and upped its cume to a stellar $7.8M. Artisan's crime thriller Novocaine added 15 new locations in its sophomore session and took in $340,212, off 19%, giving the Steve Martin film an average of $2,835.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Universal's alien drama K-Pax fell 45% to $1.7M pushing its cume to $48.2M. The $48M-budgeted picture should find its way to $50-52M. The Dr. Dre-Snoop Dogg comedy The Wash fell to $1.6M in its second weekend, down 43%, and has grossed just $6.5M in ten days. Produced for only $4M, the Lions Gate release should end up with around $8M. The horror flick Thirteen Ghosts collected $1.1M, off 50%, and lifted its total to $39.6M. Budgeted at under $20M, the Warner Bros. title should end up with about $42M.

The top ten films grossed $138.7M over three days which was down 15% from last year when How the Grinch Stole Christmas remained in the top spot with $52.1M; and down 3% from 1999 when Toy Story 2 opened at number one with $57.4M.

Compared to projections, Spy Game opened close to my three-day forecast of $24M. Both Black Knight and Out Cold debuted below my respective predictions of $16M and $7M.

Visit the NEW Box Office Guru Holiday Store with savings on dozens of gift ideas including DVDs, posters, CDs, calendars, and more.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey on which December film you want to see the most. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether or not Harry Potter would reach $400M domestically. Of 2,681 responses, 55% said Yes while 45% said No.

Read the Weekly Rewind column which reports on Thanksgiving weekend 1995. For a review of Harry Potter visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Behind Enemy Lines opens.

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# Title Nov 23 - 25 Nov 16 - 18 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Dist.
1 Harry Potter $ 57,487,755 $ 90,294,621 -36.3 3,672 2 $ 15,656 $ 186,978,513 Warner Bros.
2 Monsters, Inc. 24,055,001 22,716,685 5.9 3,649 4 6,592 192,229,825 Buena Vista
3 Spy Game 21,689,125 2,770 1 7,830 30,566,960 Universal
4 Black Knight 11,102,948 2,571 1 4,319 15,409,892 Fox
5 Shallow Hal 8,516,424 12,106,586 -29.7 2,643 3 3,222 54,998,829 Fox
6 Out Cold 4,531,665 2,011 1 2,253 6,700,687 Buena Vista
7 Domestic Disturbance 4,008,337 5,377,031 -25.5 2,386 4 1,680 39,801,239 Paramount
8 Heist 3,113,033 4,682,249 -33.5 1,711 3 1,819 20,025,070 Warner Bros.
9 Life as a House 2,121,159 2,646,422 -19.8 1,119 5 1,896 12,220,980 New Line
10 The One 2,075,363 4,105,741 -49.5 1,727 4 1,202 41,880,185 Sony
11 Amelie 1,811,595 1,323,345 36.9 217 4 8,348 7,799,075 Miramax
12 K-Pax 1,727,020 3,138,750 -45.0 1,256 5 1,375 48,237,565 Universal
13 The Wash 1,649,089 2,875,067 -42.6 749 2 2,202 6,505,786 Lions Gate
14 Thirteen Ghosts 1,077,838 2,132,473 -49.5 905 5 1,191 39,628,512 Warner Bros.
15 The Man Who Wasn't There 954,389 893,669 6.8 246 3 3,880 4,593,619 USA Films
16 Sidewalks of New York 545,132 99 1 5,506 678,286 Par. Class.
17 Bandits 506,362 768,683 -34.1 602 7 841 40,677,084 MGM
18 Serendipity 479,686 875,313 -45.2 506 7 948 48,051,398 Miramax
19 Training Day 430,014 908,870 -52.7 458 8 939 74,950,886 Warner Bros.
20 Novocaine 340,212 418,098 -18.6 120 2 2,835 945,325 Artisan
Top 5 $ 122,851,253 $ 135,177,172 -9.1
Top 10 138,700,810 150,075,625 -7.6
Top 20 148,222,147 157,223,927 -5.7
Top 20 vs. 2000 148,222,147 173,059,736 -14.4

Last Updated : November 26, 2001 at 11:15PM EST