'Prince' on course to top other films in franchise

Moviegoers remained spellbound by Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on Friday, shelling out $26.8 million and raising the pic’s running three day cume to $107 million.

“Half Blood Prince” continues to outstrip its July 2007 predecessor “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which in its three days collected $88.4 million. Yesterday’s take for “Half Blood Prince,” playing at 4,325 theaters, bested the first Friday of “Order of the Phoenix” by $1 million.

“Half Blood Prince” is on course to clinch the title for the five-day opening box office record for the franchise, beating the $139.7 million chalked up by “Order of the Phoenix.” However, should “Half Blood Prince” clear past the $144.4 million five-day opening of “The Matrix Reloaded” (which bowed on a Thursday), it will become Warner Bros.’ second highest five-day opener behind last summer’s “The Dark Knight” ($203.8 million). “The Dark Knight” continues to own the opening three-day and five-day records at the domestic B.O.

On its opening day, “Half Blood Prince” earned $58.2 million at the domestic B.O., making it the second highest Wednesday opener ever behind “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” which made $62 million off 4,234. “Half Blood Prince” grossed $21.9 million on Thursday.

In second place, Fox’s 3-D toon “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” took $5.4 million at 3,817, down 36%, and putting its domestic cume during its third Friday at $139.7 million.

Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” earned $4.2 million in third off 3,857, down 40% and moving its running cume to $354.3 million.

Last weekend’s No. 1 film “Bruno” from Universal slotted fourth with $2.9 million off 2,759, repping an 80% drop and an eight-day cume of $44.1 million.

Disney’s romantic comedy “The Proposal” took fifth with $2.7 million, down 23% on 3,043, and a cume in its fifth Friday of $122.5 million.

While distribs steered clear of opening any wide releases against the “Half Blood Prince” this weekend, Fox Searchlight unspooled its Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel romantic comedy “500 Days of Summer” at 27 locales where it earned an estimated $263,000 for a notable per theater of $9,747.

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