Archive for Monday, November 25, 2002

James Bond a stronger force than Harry Potter at box office

November 25, 2002


— Super-spy James Bond has outcharmed boy wizard Harry Potter.

"Die Another Day," the 20th Bond flick, took in $47 million over opening weekend, the best debut ever for the franchise, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Bond movie bumped last weekend's top film, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," to No. 2. In its second weekend, "Chamber of Secrets" grossed $42.4 million, pushing its 10-day total to $148.5 million.

"Friday After Next," the third in Ice Cube's series of "Friday" urban comedies, opened in third place with $13.1 million. Kevin Kline's "The Emperor's Club," about a prep-school teacher's relationship with a troublesome teen, debuted at No. 7 with $4.1 million.

"Die Another Day" beat the opening gross of the last Bond movie, "The World Is Not Enough," the franchise's previous best debut at $35.5 million.

Pierce Brosnan has drawn favorable reviews for his fourth outing as agent 007. The addition of Halle Berry as Bond's formidable American ally and love interest, plus a cameo and theme song by Madonna, helped reinvigorate the 40-year-old franchise.

Women accounted for nearly half the movie's audience, according to distributor MGM. The movie's hip look and attitude played well with viewers younger than 25, who made up about a third of the audience, said Peter Adee, MGM head of marketing.

"There's a great deal of pressure on franchise pictures, especially when you have 19 movies before you," Adee said. "You can't just have an aging audience. Young men and women are embracing the Bond franchise unbelievably well. That puts us in a great place to set up the next movie."

"Chamber of Secrets" had a slower second weekend than its predecessor, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." But the second weekend for "Sorcerer's Stone" came over Thanksgiving, when movie-going is brisker.

"Harry Potter" distributor Warner Bros. expects a strong holiday showing for "Chamber of Secrets" this Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally a prime time for family films.

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" crossed the $200 million mark last week, with "Chamber of Secrets" ready to follow suit quickly. That will make six $200 million movies so far this year, tying last year's record number, with one more likely candidate, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," coming next month.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co.:

1. "Die Another Day," $47 million.

2. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," $42.4 million.

3. "Friday After Next," $13.1 million.

4. "The Santa Clause 2," $10.3 million.

5. "8 Mile," $8.7 million.

6. "The Ring," $7.6 million.

7. "The Emperor's Club," $4.1 million.

8. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," $3.8 million.

9. "Half Past Dead," $3.3 million.

10. "Frida," $2.4 million.

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