‘Harry Potter’ Tops Box Office Again With $49 Million

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1” was the top movie of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend, taking in $49.1 million in ticket sales over three days for Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros.

“Tangled,” Walt Disney Co.’s animated update of the fairy tale Rapunzel, opened with $48.8 million in sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The film was one of four new movies in wide release this weekend.

The “Potter” films, Hollywood’s top-grossing franchise, are expected to generate $7.5 billion in ticket sales by the time the series ends in July with the release of an eighth movie, “Deathly Hallows -- Part 2,” the estimate of Warner Bros. Chief Executive Officer Barry Meyer. The first seven, based on the books by J.K. Rowling, all opened in first place.

“‘Harry Potter’ is one of those cultural phenomena,” said Chad Hartigan, a box-office analyst at Los Angeles-based Exhibitor Relations Co. “The movies have become more and more mature, and they are able to hang on to audience and make new fans. ‘Harry Potter’ will be the biggest movie of this holiday season.”

“Deathly Hallows -- Part 1” was forecast to generate $50 million in sales from Nov. 26 through yesterday, according to Gitesh Pandya, editor of Box Office Guru. For the five days from Nov. 24, sales totaled $75 million, according to Hollywood.com, missing Pandya’s estimate of $80 million. “Tangled” took in $68.7 million over the five-day holiday period.

‘Tangled’

In “Deathly Hallows,” Lord Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes, gains control of the magical world as Harry and his pals, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, go into hiding. They try to avoid capture while seeking artifacts that hold portions of the evil wizard’s soul. The returning cast includes Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

The first six “Potter” films took $5.44 billion in worldwide sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. The “Star Wars” movies have grossed $4.48 billion, while the “James Bond” franchise has produced $3.03 billion. The numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation.

“Tangled” tells the story of Rapunzel, a girl whose magical hair is 70 feet long. Locked away in a tower, she is freed by a charming bandit. Mandy Moore provides the voice of Rapunzel and Zachary Levi plays the bandit Flynn Rider.

‘Burlesque’

“Tangled” will probably become the No. 1 movie next weekend, as the “rush factor” of the “Harry Potter” movie goes away, Hartigan said.

The animated comedy “Megamind,” featuring the voices of Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell, fell to third place from second, taking in $12.6 million. The movie has generated $130.2 million for DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. and distributor Paramount Pictures.

“Burlesque,” starring Christina Aguilera and Cher, was fourth with $11.9 million in ticket sales. The new release follows a young woman, played by Aguilera, who tries to make it as a dancer in a club run by Cher’s character. The movie is distributed by Sony Pictures.

“Unstoppable,” an action film starring Denzel Washington, fell to fifth from third with $11.4 million in its third week. In the News Corp. film, Washington plays a veteran railroad engineer and Chris Pine portrays an inexperienced conductor who try to stop a runaway train.

‘Faster’

“Love and Other Drugs,” featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, was sixth, taking in $9.7 million in its first weekend. Hathaway plays a free-spirited woman who is pursued by a charming salesman, played by Gyllenhaal. The romantic comedy was released by News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox.

CBS Films’ “Faster,” starring Dwayne Johnson, opened in seventh place with sales of $8.5 million. Johnson stars in the movie as a former convict out to avenge the murder of his brother. Billy Bob Thornton co-stars.

The weekend’s top 12 films grossed $171.4 million, down 2.1 percent from a year earlier, according to Hollywood.com. This year’s domestic box-office sales total $9.66 billion, up 2.1 percent from a year earlier. Attendance is down 3 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Nov. 26 to Nov. 28.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
 1 HARRY POTTER        49.1   4,125   11,900   -61   219.1   2
 2 TANGLED             48.8   3,603   13,535    --    68.7   1
 3 MEGAMIND            12.6   3,411    3,687   -21   130.2   4
 4 BURLESQUE           11.9   3,037    3,934    --    17.3   1
 5 UNSTOPPABLE         11.4   3,183    3,592   -12    60.4   3
 6 LOVE AND OTHER       9.7   2,455    3,967    --    13.9   1
 7 FASTER               8.5   2,454    3,473    --    12.0   1
 8 DUE DATE             7.2   2,555    2,805   -20    84.9   4
 9 THE NEXT THREE DAYS  4.7   2,564    1,826   -28    14.4   2
10 MORNING GLORY        3.9   2,441    1,602   -25    26.3   3
11 127 HOURS            1.7     293    5,832    86     4.4   4
12 FAIR GAME            1.6     396    3,940     7     6.0   4


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $171.4        $175.2       -2.1


Year-to-date Revenue

     2010          2009
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $9,658        $9,458       +2.1

Year-to-date Attendance:      -3.0%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Yi Tian in New York at Ytian8@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.