Pic scores record $5.5 million opening

ROME — “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” continued to cast its spell internationally over the weekend when the blockbuster made a record-breaking four-day opening of 11 billion lire ($5.5 million) in Italy.

The figures were tracked by national B.O. monitor Cinetel, which covers roughly 75% of the market, in this case posting results for 411 of the total 463 prints of “Potter” released. The pic averaged $12,463 per engagement, more than double the per-screen performance of any other release in the territory.

“We estimated opening with 9 billion lire but made over 10,” Warner Bros Italia chief Paolo Ferrari said. “It’s a little early to say exactly what the total box office forecast for Italy will be, but after such a strong start and such a positive response from audiences here, we should reach ($20 million to $25 million).”

Italy’s previous opening-weekend record was held by the Cecchi Gori Group’s “Fireworks,” from actor-director Leonardo Pieraccioni. Released Oct. 16, 1997, the homegrown comedy’s four-day total per Cinetel was $5.2 million on 247 screens.

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