‘Harry’ casts a spell o’seas

Boy wizard breaks German record for highest single-day gross

“Harry Potter” mania spread around the world over the weekend as the blockbuster shattered all-time industry opening records in seven European territories, saw rousing bows in Southeast Asia and continued to cast a spell in Blighty.

According to Warner Bros.’ Sunday estimates, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (as it’s known in most markets outside Asia) rang up $13.6 million in four days on a record 1,226 screens in Germany, selling roughly 2.3 million tickets and beating by 28% the previous opening record, held by “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” WB hailed Saturday’s $4.6 million as the highest single-day gross ever in Germany.

Holland’s $1.4 million in four days ranks as the biggest opening weekend there, without sneaks, fractionally ahead of “The Sixth Sense” total, which included previews, the distrib said. Austria’s $1.2 million from 142 screens edged out the “Mission: Impossible 2” bow by 5%. WB claimed the Chris Columbus-helmed fantasy also set industry records in Sweden (notching an estimated $1.3 million), Denmark ($1.1 million), Norway ($875,000) and Finland ($578,000).

The distrib rated Belgium’s $773,000 on 124 as a local WB record, the Philippines’ $882,000 on 105 as the industry’s second-biggest preem ever behind “Godzilla,” Singapore’s $896,000 on 53 as the second-highest after “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and South Africa’s $305,000 on 88 as Warner’s best and the market’s third-largest, trailing “M:I 2” and “The World Is Not Enough” (both inflated by sneaks).

$40 mil in Blighty

In the U.K., “Harry” was projected to have minted $11 million on 1,168 screens (down a mere 17% after its record bow), elevating the market cume to a dizzying $40 million. The second weekend stands as an industry high, 23% up on the previous best by “Toy Story 2.”

The junior sorcerer also posted a record soph session in Taiwan (toppling “Lost World”), conjuring up $1.7 million, propelling the territory total to a phenom $5.6 million. The omens are awe-inspiring as the pic is slated to roll out next weekend in a bunch of territories including Japan, Spain, Australia, Mexico and Argentina.

“Legally Blonde” withstood the boy wizard’s invasion in Germany pretty well, courting an estimated $1.5 million in its second weekend (off 30%, excluding the opening frame’s previews), bringing the market total to a strapping $4.1 million. The Reese Witherspoon starrer fell by 29% in Spain, fetching roughly $460,000 on 200, earning a decent $1.2 million in 10 days.

Kidnap caper “Don’t Say a Word” reigned in Spain, nabbing an estimated $1.5 million in three days on 275, where “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” surfaced in second spot with a watery $476,000 in two days on 160.

Good game for ‘Spy’

Meantime, there were mixed fortunes for three titles in their first foreign markets. Best of the bunch was “Spy Game,” which launched in Blighty on the heels of its domestic debut. The Robert Redford/Brad Pitt starrer spied a solid $1 million Friday-Saturday at 267 locations, a tad below the resilient fourth frame of “The Others.”

Motoring into Australia after hitting the wall at home, “Riding in Cars With Boys” whistled up a tame $455,000 on four days on 175, trailing the third lap of “The Others” ($625,000 on 209) and the soph session of “Training Day” ($460,000 on 184) in subdued trading. The Denzel Washington starrer has collared a respectable $1.7 million in 11 days in Oz, sliding by 37%.

Domestic dud “The Last Castle” was unlocked Down Under, yielding a modest $351,000 on 158, ahead of the prophetically titled “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” ($114,000 on 98).

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