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Box office: ‘Harry Potter’ hits new heights, Russell Crowe flops….

HarryPotterDeathly

Harry Potter has cast his biggest opening-weekend spell yet, thanks largely to fans who rushed to midnight screenings late Thursday.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” sold $125.2 million of tickets this weekend, according to an estimate from Warner Bros. That’s 23% higher than the previous biggest first weekend for a “Potter” film, though ticket prices have risen over the years and the last two sequels opened on a Wednesday, not a Friday. Also, the new movie benefited by playing in more digital and large-format theaters, which carry higher ticket prices.

The only other new movie to open nationwide, the Russell Crowe thriller “The Next Three Days,” flopped, debuting to a weak $6.75 million. That’s the worst start for a movie starring Crowe since the 2006 bomb “A Good Year.”

For “Deathly Hallows,” Saturday and Sunday ticket sales were nearly identical to the last series entry to start on a Friday, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which launched in November 2005. The major difference came from Thursday’s midnight shows, when the new film raked in $24 million, compared with $6 million for “Goblet of Fire.” That accounted for $18 million of the $22-million advantage for this year’s picture.

That reflects changing moviegoing habits as it has become increasingly common in the past five years for moviegoers to rush to see a film as early as possible, noted Warner domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman.

It also shows the changing demographics of the Potter audience, as more fans are now old enough to see the movie late at night rather than in a matinee. About 25% of the audience for “Deathly Hallows” was between 18 and 35, compared with 10% for “Goblet of Fire.”

 

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November 21, 2010 - Posted by | Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Movies, Updates | , ,

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