|Warner Bros. Photo|
|Radcliffe on set with director Newell|
With Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire arriving in U.S. theatres last week as the first PG-13 rated Hogwarts adventure, there was much speculation about whether or not this more restrictive rating would affect the box office 'legs' of J.K. Rowling's intrepid trio. Unlike the first three adventures, which were all marked PG, this one could not necessarily count on multiple return visits by the kiddies.
But so far, either Goblet is proving that kids are bucking the PG-13 rating with their parents' approval, or that the adult contingent of the Harry Potter fan nation is stoking the fire, as the fourth adventure fell a respectable 46.5% during its second weekend at the U.S. box office with an estimated take of $54.9 million for Friday through Sunday (and $81 million overall for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend), nudging it past the cumulative mark of $200 million. Meanwhile, it was much the same story internationally this weekend, as Goblet of Fire swept across 42 countries with record-breaking, or near record-breaking opening weekends.
But the real punch line of this weekend's box office results is the remarkable second-week performance of Walk the Line, an instant Oscar contender thanks to the performances of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. It fell only 11.8% its second weekend with a estimated showing of $19.7 / $27.6 million, as it expanded to another 177 theatres across the U.S. Word of mouth is obviously powering this toe-tapping biopic, and it may well keep chugging for many weekends to come.
Meanwhile, proving that you should never underestimate the power of a bucket load of onscreen kids at the box office on Thankgsiving weekend, Paramount's Yours, Mine & Ours - blessed with generally mixed reviews - nonetheless scored close to $18 / 24.5 million with its comedy of two adults watching over 18 kids. It was accompanied in fourth place by another long-legged laster at the B.O., Chicken Little, which is closing in now on $120 million domestic thanks to another $12 / $16.7 million and change in the till.
Sony has to be a little disappointed with the fifth-place finish of Rent, which sang its way to an estimated $10.7 / 18 million. It may just go to show once again that a musical, in this day an age, needs major star power like that of Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones or Nicole Kidman to score with moviegoers. Rosario Dawson and co. are apparently in splendid vocal form, but unlike Broadway's more friendly embrace of a capable ensemble, the cinematic crowd looks to the marquee first, not the songbook.
Both Usher's In the Mix and the John Cusack-Billy Bob Thornton combo of The Ice Harvest failed to make much of a dent with the Thanksgiving post-turkey crowd, coming in respectively at a leftovers-like 9th ($4.4 / 6.1 million) and 10th ($3.7 / 5 million). Much more appetizing it seems was the first big screen version of Pride & Prejudice, which for its third week in Yankee theatres upped its theatre count and, in the process, moved into the seventh weekend spot with very respectable take of $7 / 9.4 million.
But all told, this fall's domestic box office still - so far - belongs to an animated slice of poultry and a 16-year-old bookish Brit.