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Potter Gobbles up Thanksgiving Box Office

November 28th, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire continues to prop up an otherwise sagging box office. It was the only film to top $20 million over the long weekend, the first time that just a single movie has topped that figure over Thanksgiving weekend since 1997. This led to a decrease of 8.4% compared to last weekend, but the three-day weekend was still 1.7% more than last year. The five-day result was even better, with 2005 up 2.9% over 2004. Year-to-date, 2005 is still 6% behind, but with a few more potential monster hits on their way, it could close the gap.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire had a lot to be thankful for over the past 5-days, as the film earned a very impressive $81.3 million. However, the 3-day portion was a little lower than expected at $54.7 million. This means the latest film in the franchise reached the $200 million mark in just 10 days, which is three days faster than The Philosopher's Stone and more than twice as fast as The Prisoner of Azkaban. What does this mean for the film's long-term chances? First of all, it means beating The Prisoner of Azkaban is all but guaranteed, it also means that if the film can carry this momentum into December, then $300 million is also on the cards. Lastly, if you add in the more than $200 million the film has made internationally, then it has already shown a healthy profit.

Walk the Line had an even better weekend than expected, earning $19.2 million over the 3-day portion and $26.9 million since Wednesday. With $54.0 million already, the BioPic has already earned back its production budget, and if it can earn some major award nominations it could top $100 million at the box office.

Yours, Mine & Ours surprised analysts at the box office, taking in $17.5 million over the 3-day weekend and $24.3 million overall. It was another matter with the critics, as the film's reviews fell to just 5% positive. The post-holiday weekend will likely hurt the film, while increased competition of family audiences will kill it.

The next two films finished either fourth or fifth, depending on whether you are talking about the 3-day or the 5-day weekend. Rent started our amazingly, opening in second place on Wednesday with $4.8 million, but while most films saw double-digit increases on Thursday, it saw a 50% drop-off. It recovered somewhat over the rest of the weekend, but finished with just $10.0 million from Friday to Sunday and $17.1 million overall.

On the other hand, Chicken Little took in $12.6 million during the three day weekend and $16.9 million overall. That was a little lower than expected. But since the film became the 15th film to reach $100 million during 2005 last Monday, there's little reason for the studio to complain.

Just Friends started out as well as expected, earning $9.2 million over the weekend and $13.2 million overall. With mediocre reviews and a low budget, the film performed well enough to make the studio happy, but won't last long in theatres or in moviegoers' memories.

That won't be the case with Pride & Prejudice, which started its wide release better than expected, earning $7.2 million / $9.5 million. Its per theatre average and reviews both suggest it can expand a bit more, but its performance with award committees will be the biggest factor when it comes to determining the film's ultimate success.

Derailed made a surprise appearance in the top ten with $4.6 million / $6.3 million over the weekend. So far the film has made $29.3 million and should see a profit early in its home market run.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the last two films on the list. In The Mix may have lived up to low expectations with $4.4 million / $6.1 million, but with reviews that are nearly unanimously negative, it's little comfort. Expect a massive drop-off next weekend before disappearing completely shortly after that.

The Ice Harvest also struggled with a tiny opening of $3.7 million / $5.0 million, but at least its reviews were not terrible. This might help it on the home market, but its theatrical release is beyond saving at this point.

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Filed under: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chicken Little, Walk the Line, Yours, Mine and Ours, Pride & Prejudice, Derailed, Just Friends, Rent, In the Mix, The Ice Harvest