Wiz kid holds at $24 mil; patriotism kicks 'Behind'

“Harry” bruised its box office legs with a big 58% drop in its third frame to an estimated $24.1 million.

The fall was partly explainable by a tough comparison with the historically strong Friday-through-Sunday frame following Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, there was some happy news for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” during the weekend as Warner Bros.’ blockbuster crossed the magical $200 million domestic B.O. threshold in its 15th day Friday, en route to an estimated cume of $220.1 million through Sunday. That’s a quicker spurt to $200 million than any previous release except 1999’s “Star Wars, Episode One: The Phantom Menace,” which got there in 13 days.

20th Century Fox bowed Gene Hackman starrer “Behind Enemy Lines” to a solid $19.2 million in estimated B.O. Based on a true story from the war in Bosnia, “Enemy Lines” was moved up more than three /months from a skedded March opening partly to take advantage of patriotic fervor in the U.S.

Fox distrib topper Bruce Snyder said pic’s acceleration also was fueled by a desire to get the jump on Sony’s military actioner “Black Hawk Down,” skedded to unspool wide in January.

“Nobody releases movies the weekend after Thanksgiving, because it’s never been considered to be a good weekend for business,” Snyder noted. “But we didn’t want to be the second war picture out.”

There were no wide openers over the same frame last year, and the sesh’s previous high-water mark came back in 1991, when “Star Trek VI” bowed to $18.1 million.

“Enemy Lines” played to auds comprised 54% of males and 54% age 25 and older.

Year-to-year gains

Industrywide, the weekend repped a nearly 5% improvement over a year ago at $93 million, according to data from B.O. tracker ACNielsen EDI. In a year-to-date comparison, 2001 is 9% ahead of the same period last year at $7.29 billion in industry grosses.

In the latest frame, several other pics also marked big drops including a 48% soph-sesh slip for Universal’s “The Spy Game” to an estimated $11.3 million. With “Game” costing U and foreign-rights partner Beacon more than $90 million to produce, Robert Redford-Brad Pitt starrer may struggle to reach profitability.

Other soph-sesh pics included Fox’s Martin Lawrence laffer “Black Knight,” which fell 49% to $5.7 million, and Disney’s teen comedy “Out Cold,” off 36% at $2.9 million.

Mouse House’s “Monsters, Inc.” dropped an ugly 60% to $9.4 million. But the Pixar co-prod crossed $200 million in a tooner-record 30 days, as beauteous cume reached an estimated $204.3 million.

Warners had hoped to maintain at least a 50% “hold” from week-earlier grosses on “Harry.” But exec veep distrib Jeff Goldstein said the bigger drop still was on par with those of other family pics in the market this sesh.

Meanwhile, Miramax’s “Amelie” broke into the top 10 without reaching wide distribution. French-language laffer, which won’t expand further substantially until Christmas week, finished No. 9 in adding a single theater for a total 218 and grossing an estimated $1.4 million.

Oater misfires

On the other hand, Miramax/Dimension’s “Texas Rangers” — once intended as a wide release but long delayed after lackluster testing — bowed in 402 engagements and grossed an abysmal $300,000. Repping only $746 per playdate, perf left James Van Der Beek-Dylan McDermott starrer far out of the top 10.

Miramax’s “In the Bedroom” added a single venue for a total five and grossed $95,000, or an impressive $19,000 per location. Sissy Spacek starrer, which expands into top-20 markets on Christmas, moved cume to $240,000 after two limited frames in L.A. and Gotham.

Warners-distribbed “The Affair of the Necklace,” a period drama produced by Alcon, grossed $136,000 from 18 playdates in four markets. Hilary Swank starrer — which enjoyed a solid $7,555 per-theater average — expands into top-10 distribution Christmas week.

Paramount Classics’ “Sidewalks of New York” added 108 theaters for a total 207 and rolled up $630,000, or a middling $3,043 per playdate. Cume for Edward Burns’ ensemble laffer moved to $1.4 million.

New Line’s “Life as a House” — a No. 10 finisher a week earlier — fell from the top finishers in the latest sesh with $1.2 million from 958 playdates. Kevin Kline starrer has constructed a $13.9 million cume through six frames.

It appears Artisan’s “Novocaine” has lost any strength, as Steve Martin starrer grossed only $235,000 in expanding 25 theaters to 145. Weak $1,620 per-venue average moved cume to $1.3 million through three frames.

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