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CHOCO
Nov 17th, 2002, 09:48 PM
'Harry Potter' Casts Spell at Worldwide Box Office

November 17, 2002 02:48 PM ET

By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Welcome back, Potter.

One year after the first film about English boy wizard Harry Potter smashed box office records worldwide, its sequel enjoyed a magical bow in North America, Europe and Asia over the weekend.

All told, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," based on U.K. author J.K. Rowling's best-selling books, earned about $142 million in North America and eight international markets, said officials at its distributor, Warner Bros. Pictures.

The tally includes an $87.7 million launch in North America, where it ranks as the third best opening of all time, behind the May 2002 release "Spider-Man" ($114.8 million) and Potter's 2001 predecessor, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" ($90.3 million).

Last weekend's box office champ, the Eminem drama "8 Mile," slipped to No. 2 with $21.3 million, taking its 10-day total to $86.4 million.

In Britain, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" earned $15.7 million in its first weekend, edging past the original's record by about $300,000. Including sneaks from prior weekends, the new film has grossed $29 million. (The first Harry Potter film was known as "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" outside the United States and some Asian territories.)

In Germany, "Chamber of Secrets" grossed $15.7 million, the third-highest opening after the first Harry Potter and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

The film also broke various records in Austria, German-speaking Switzerland, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.

MAINTAINING FRENZY

The first Harry Potter film went on to gross more than $900 million worldwide, ranking No. 2 on the all-time list behind "Titanic."

In North America, where "Sorcerer's Stone" ended up with $318 million, exit polling and reviews were stronger for the sequel, said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. These indicated the new movie could have more staying power at theaters, he said. Additionally, the Saturday and Sunday figures were higher for "Chamber of Secrets" than for its predecessor.

"I think the marketing challenge of Harry Potter is of course to maintain the frenzy and enthusiasm that existed after the first one," said Fellman.

One challenge was to overcome accusations that the first film was a "Star Wars"-like vehicle to sell action figures. Thus, the studio took every care with the sequel to keep the franchise "upscale and classy," said Fellman.

"We did not want to associate ourselves with every kind of merchandisable item," he added.

Warner Bros., a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc., is in pre-production on a third film, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," which is scheduled for release in 2004. Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron is directing the new movie, stepping in for Chris Columbus, who directed the first two and will take a producer's role on the third.

Harry Potter is played by 13-year-old English schoolboy Daniel Radcliffe. The film's adult stars include Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Dame Maggie Smith and the late Richard Harris, who died three weeks ago.

In Austria, "Chamber of Secrets" opened with $1.6 million, surpassing the first film by five percent. On the German side of Switzerland, its $1.7 million bow was 42 percent ahead of the original.

"Chamber of Secrets" earned $3.1 million in Taiwan, surpassing the opening record held by "The Mummy" by 16 percent. Additionally, the film earned $1.2 million in the Philippines, $1 million in Singapore and $474,000 in Malaysia.

"RING" REACHES $100 MILLION

Elsewhere at the North American box office, the top 10 included one new entry, "Half Past Dead," at No. 5 with $8.2 million. The Alcatraz siege movie, starring fading action hero Steven Seagal and rapper Ja Rule, was released by Screen Gems, a unit of Sony Corp .

Rounding out the top five were "The Santa Clause 2" (Walt Disney Pictures) at No. 3 with $15.1 million and "The Ring" (DreamWorks) at No. 4 with $11 million. The latter rose to $101.6 million after five weekends, becoming the 17th film of 2002 to pass the century mark. "Santa" has $82.5 million after three weekends.

Walt Disney Pictures is a unit of Walt Disney Co., while DreamWorks is privately held. Universal Pictures, which released "8 Mile," is a unit of Vivendi Universal SA. .

New releases next weekend include the James Bond movie "Die Another Day," the Kevin Kline drama "The Emperor's Club" and the urban comedy "Friday After Next."

Master Lu
Nov 17th, 2002, 11:01 PM
(The first Harry Potter film was known as "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" outside the United States and some Asian territories.)


Translation: The first Harry Potter film was, for some idiotic reason, renamed to "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" in the USA, and some Asian territories.

CHOCO
Nov 18th, 2002, 01:22 AM
Potter weaves box office magic
November 18 2002

The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, and Harry Potter has found a fortune inside.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second instalment in the fantasy franchise based on J K Rowling's novels, took in $US87.7 million ($A156.19 million), the third-best debut weekend ever, according to studio estimates today.

Chamber of Secrets came in behind the record $US114.8 million ($A204.45 million) that Spider-Man grossed in its first three days last spring and the $US90.3 million ($A160.82 million) haul of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone a year ago.

With generally better audience and critical reaction for the new movie, Warner hopes Chamber of Secrets will surpass the $US317.6 million ($A565.63 million) total of Sorcerer's Stone.

"The kids have gotten better, the reviews have gotten better. The overall franchise is just growing," said Dan Fellman, Warner head of distribution.


Last weekend's No 1 film, rapper Eminem's semi-autobiographical 8 Mile, dropped steeply after a huge debut.

The movie came in at No 2 with $US21.3 million ($A37.93 million), down 58 per cent from its opening weekend of $US51.2 million ($A91.18 million) and pushing its 10-day total to $US86.4 million ($A153.87 million).

Pamela Shriver
Nov 18th, 2002, 01:48 AM
I cast spells too. Its my hair

DutchieGirl
Nov 18th, 2002, 02:06 AM
Can't wait for it to start here! I have to wait till 28th.