As expected Harry PotterAnd The Goblet Of Fire paralysed thecompetition at the weekend with a staggering estimated $101.4m three-day haulthat swatted away concerns over the higher PG-13 rating and surely exceededeven the expectations of Warner Bros.
The result is the biggestopening in the franchise to date and will remain so even after the studio confirmsits figures this week. The previous biggest debut was Harry Potter And ThePrisoner Of Azkaban in 2003 on$93.7m.
Goblet Of Fire stormed to the top on a wave of delirious reviews ina record breaking debut that already ranks as the fourth biggest three-daybreak-out of all time behind Spider-Man's $114.8m, and $108m each from Shrek 2 and Star Wars Episode III.
In a new high for a Novemberopening that also scored the biggest debut ever for a picture opening in thefourth quarter, Goblet Of Fire revivedthe box office: the top 12 titles combined for $171m to rise 19% against thesame period last year.
Averaging an emphatic$26,289 on 3,858 screens the ongoing Hogwarts chronicle was directed by MikeNewell - the first Briton to direct a Potter - and once again starsDaniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson supported by an all-star UKensemble.
Walk The Line, which has also inspired the critics and is regardedas a potentially strong player in the awards season, opened in second place on$22.4m.
James Mangold's pictureaveraged $7,565 on 2,961 screens.Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon star as Johnny Cash and June Carter inthe acclaimed biopic.
Elsewhere Disney's ChickenLittle maintained a strong run thatwill see the animated title cross $100m any day now. Despite slipping twoplaces to third, $14.8m from the weekend was enough to raise the domesticrunning total to $99.2m.
Sony's children'spicture Zathura tumbled three tofifth, having taken $20.3m so far, while Lions Gate's horror sequel SawII fell two to eighth and added$3.9m for $79.9m after four weekends.
Focus Features' Pride& Prejudice stayed in 10th placein its second weekend on $2.1m for $5.9m.
Next weekend's widereleases are New Line's romantic comedy Just Friends starring Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart; Paramount'sfamily comedy Yours, Mine And Ours starringDennis Quaid and Rene Russo; and Revolution Studios' musical adaptation Rentstarring Rosario Dawson.
Estimated Top Ten US Nov18-20 2005
Film(Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimatedtotal to date
1 (-) Harry Potter AndThe Goblet Of Fire (Warner Bros)WBPI $101.4m -
2 (-)Walk The Line (Fox) FoxInt'l $22.4m -
3 (1) Chicken Little (Buena Vista) BVI $14.8m $99.2m
4 (3) Derailed (The Weinstein Co) The Weinstein Co $6.5m $21.8m
5 (2) Zathura (Columbia) SPRI $5.1m $20.3m
6 (5) Jarhead (Universal) UIP $4.8m $54.3m
7 (4) Get Rich Or DieTryin' (Paramount) UIP $4.4m$24.5m
8 (6) Saw II (Lions Gate) LGI $3.9m $79.9m
9 (7) The Legend Of Zorro(Sony) SPRI/Spyglass $2.3m $42.8m
10 (10) Pride &Prejudice (Focus Features) UIP $2.1m$5.9m