'Harry Potter' Is Box Office Magic with $77.4 Million Weekend
Harry Potter remains a box-office charmer.
The Warner Bros. fantasy sequel "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" conjured up a $77.4 million debut to lead the weekend box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.
That raised the movie's total domestic gross to $140 million since opening Wednesday.
"Order of the Phoenix" also has taken in an additional $190.3 million in 44 other countries where it began rolling out Wednesday.
"Transformers," the DreamWorks-Paramount sci-fi tale that was the previous weekend's No. 1 movie, slipped to second place with $36 million, lifting its total to $223 million.
The weekend's other new wide release, grisly horror story "Captivity" from Lionsgate and After Dark Films, opened out of the top 10 with $1.55 million, coming in at No. 12. The movie stars Elisha Cuthbert as a model who is abducted and tortured.
"Order of the Phoenix" expanded overall business for Hollywood. The top 12 movies took in $171.1 million, up 14 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" was No. 1 with $62.3 million.
The fifth chapter in the movie series based on J.K. Rowling's novels about the teen wizard, "Order of the Phoenix" has Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) leading a secret society of students to prepare for the coming showdown with the evil Lord Voldemort.
The previous four "Harry Potter" flicks all had bigger first weekends, ranging from $88.4 million to $102.7 million, but those all debuted Friday. "Order of the Phoenix" was the first to get a jump on the weekend with a Wednesday opening.
"We're in the middle of summer, and we just said why not, because kids are out of school," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros. "It certainly turned out to be the right decision."
"Order of the Phoenix" did more business in five days than each of the first three "Harry Potter" movies did in their first full week, and it nearly matched the $146 million first week total of the fourth film, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Fellman said.
Warner Bros. counts on the "Harry Potter" frenzy to persist with the publication next Saturday of the final book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."
"People are going to have Potter mania happening again when the book comes out," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "They'll be walking book in hand into the movie theater."
In limited release, Focus Features' film biography "Talk to Me" opened strongly with $390,754 in 33 theaters. The film stars Don Cheadle as an ex-con who becomes an outspoken social commentator on the radio in the 1960s.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," $77.4 million.
2. "Transformers," $36 million.
3. "Ratatouille," $18 million.
4. "Live Free or Die Hard," $10.9 million.
5. "License to Wed," $7.4 million.
6. "1408," $5.01 million.
7. "Evan Almighty," $5 million.
8. "Knocked Up," $3.7 million.
9. "Sicko," $2.65 million.
10. "Ocean's Thirteen," $1.9 million.