Biz hopes for B.O. stuffing

Studios expect holiday receipt feast

The table has been set for a boffo feast over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Prospects for the five-day frame look impressive, with Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” prepped to rewrite the record book in its second weekend, and Buena Vista’s “Monsters, Inc.” still minting substantial coin. And a trio of counterprogrammed pics opens today: Universal’s “Spy Game,” 20th Century Fox’s “Black Knight” and BV’s “Out Cold.”

Optimists foresee a possible replay of the past two holiday frames. In 1999, “Toy Story 2,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “End of Days” propelled the Friday-Sunday period to an astounding $160 million. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Unbreakable,” “102 Dalmatians,” “Rugrats in Paris” and “Charlie’s Angels” led to even flashier numbers, with $176.9 million over the three days in 2000.

“The idea is that when you have a big hit like ‘Harry Potter,’ you can actually expand the pie to everyone’s benefit,” said Dan Marks, VP of B.O. tracker ACNielsen EDI.

Plenty of room

Bruce Snyder, 20th’s distribution topper, said he was unconcerned about potential overcrowding. “We have a very funny PG-13 comedy that plays to everyone. When there are good films, the marketplace always expands.”

“Harry” conjured up $6.6 million Monday to leave its four-day cume at $96.9 million. That nearly guaranteed Tuesday’s take would push the cume past the century mark on its fifth day, a wizardly achievement previously conjured only by “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.”

“Monsters” continues to be a factor, scaring up $1.4 million on Monday to lift its 18-day cume to $157.7 million.

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