At The Movies: Sixth ‘Harry Potter’ Film Casts Spell On Weekend Box Office

By Tim Boswell  |  07/20/2009

2009-07-20 - Box OfficeHarry Potter is a certified hit no matter how many times a new movie hits the box office, and this week proved that statement even further, as its latest led all movies this weekend.

The sixth installment, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," took in $79.5 million domestically over opening weekend and $159.7 million since debuting last Wednesday, to make it the box office winner.

That's just U.S. numbers. Overseas, it's taken $237 million in 54 countries, bringing its worldwide total to $396.7 million.

The new "Harry Potter" film is off to fastest overall start in franchise history. It came in $20 million ahead of the last movie, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which grossed $139.7 million domestically in its first five days two years ago.

Additionally, it's the second-highest start ever for a movie premiering on Wednesday, trailing the $200 million five-day opening for last month's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

After taking #1 last weekend, Sacha Baron Cohen's mockumentary, "Bruno", plummeted to #4 taking in just $8.4 million, a 73% dope from its $30.6 million opening.

After mixed reviews, "Bruno" is failing to earn the buzz that made his 2006 "Borat" such as hit ... a $128 million hit. After 10 days in release, its earned $49.6 million.

"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" took #2 with $17.7 million; "Transformers" landed at #3 with $13.7 million; "The Hangover took #5 with $8.3 million; "The Proposal" landed at #6 with $8.2 million; "Public Enemies" came in at #7 with $7.5 million; "Up" was at #8 with $3.1 million; "My Sister's Keeper" was at #9 with $2.8 million; and "I Love You Beth Cooper" rounded at the top 10 with $2.6 million.

Fox Searchlight's romantic comedy, "500 Days of Summer," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, got off to a big start in limited release with $837,588 in 27 theaters. A hit with critics, the film is expanding into wide release over the next few weekends.

According to the Associated Press, the top 12 movies this weekend combined for less than that, taking in $153.9 million, down 39 percent from a year ago.

Next weekend sees the release of the family adventure "G-Force," the horror flick "The Orphan," and the Katherine Heigl romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth."