Harry, Ron and Hermione may be spending a miserable winter hiding out in various forests, but they can be thankful for holiday weekend moviegoers, who made 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I' the top-grossing film for the second week in a row. It's an impressive feat, considering that four new wide-release movies opened Wednesday to steal some of Harry's Thanksgiving thunder.
According to studio estimates, the Potter picture pulled another $50.3 million over the last three days. That's down a striking 60 percent from last week's business, which might be cause for alarm if the movie's domestic gross over its first 10 days weren't already up to 220.4 million. Over the five-day holiday, it earned $76.3 million, which is also better than its four new competitors over the same period.
Still, 'Tangled' was close behind, with an estimated $49.1 million for the weekend. And with a five-day total of $69.0 million, the Disney take on the Rapunzel tale scored the best Thanksgiving opening since Disney's own 'Toy Story 2' back in 1999. (That film earned $57.4 million over the three-day weekend and $80.1 million from Wednesday to Sunday.) It also boasted the best per-screen average ($13,628) of any top 10 movie this week. Credit the Disney marketing machine, glowing reviews, a princess story that also had some boy appeal, a PG rating that was a little more family-friendly than the dark 'Deathly Hallows' and 3-D ticket surcharges.
A distant third but still holding strong (stronger, anyway, than three of the four newcomers), 'Megamind' grossed another estimated $12.9 million. Like 'Tangled,' it's benefiting from 3-D ticket prices and family crowds, and it's also playing in more theaters than every other movie except 'Tangled' and 'Deathly Hallows.' Down just 20 percent from last weekend, 'Megamind' claims a four-weekend total of $130.5 million.
Opening at No. 4 was the Cher/Christina Aguilera musical 'Burlesque.' Pundits had been expecting an opening weekend of $13 million with a five-day total of $19 million. It performed slightly below those guesses, earning an estimated $11.8 million over the weekend and $17.2 million since it opened on Wednesday. Despite tireless promotion from its two leads, the movie still may have seemed like an enigma to potential viewers -- a musical not based on a familiar Broadway title, a pop star (Aguilera) who'd never acted in a film before, teasing hints of adult sexuality wrapped in a PG-13 rating and wishy-washy reviews.
LIke 'Megamind,' 'Unstoppable' is still in good shape, taking the No. 5 spot with an estimated $11.75 million, just a hair behind fourth-place 'Burlesque.' (When final numbers are released Monday, those positions could switch.) The runaway-train thriller barely lost any of last week's business (just 10 percent), for a three-weekend total of $60.7 million.
Debuting in sixth place was 'Love and Other Drugs,' which scored an estimated $9.9 million over the weekend and $14.0 million since Wednesday. That's near the low end of expectations, which had been in the $9-$11 million range for Friday to Sunday and $14-$16 million over the first five days. On the minus side, the romantic drama had a tough-sell adult premise, middling reviews and word-of-mouth, and competition for the adult female audience from 'Burlesque.' On the plus side, much hype about a frequently naked Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.
The last of this weekend's new wide releases, 'Faster' opened in a disappointing seventh place. Predictions had been around $11-$13 million for the weekend and $17-$19 million for the first five days, but it opened with only an estimated $8.7 million weekend and $12.2 million since Wednesday. Despite the return of Dwayne Johnson to action films for the first time in five years, the absence of other new action product and positive word-of-mouth, the movie was underhyped and under-released (on just 2,454 screens). Plus, it had to compete with the still-popular 'Unstoppable.' Nonetheless, $12.2 million is more than half the movie's reported $24 million budget, so 'Faster' should turn a modest profit even if it's out of theaters soon.
Opening in limited release, 'The King's Speech' set a record for the best per-screen average of 2010, earning a regal $87,448 on each of four screens. Sure, that's just $350,000, but watch for its numbers to grow as it rides a wave of strong Oscar buzz for Colin Firth's performance and opens wider across the country.
The full top 10 (three-day grosses):
1. 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I,' $50.3 million (4,125 screens), $220.4 million total
2. 'Tangled,' $49.1 million (3,603), $69.0 million
3. 'Megamind,' $12.9 million (3,411), $130.5 million
4. 'Burlesque,' $11.80 million (3,037), $17.2 million
5. 'Unstoppable,' $11.75 million (3,183), $60.7 million
6. 'Love and Other Drugs,' $9.9 million (2,455), $14.0 million
7. 'Faster,' $8.7 million (2,454), $12.2 million
8. 'Due Date,' $7.3 million (2,555), $85.0 million
9. 'The Next Three Days,' $4.8 million (2,564), $14.6 million
10. 'Morning Glory,' $4.0 million (2,441), $26.5 million
•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.