Warner Bros scored the biggest opening in North American box office history over the weekend as Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, the film of the best-selling novel by JK Rowling, grossed a phenomenal estimated $93.5m in the three day period from Friday to Sunday.
The film also broke the record for the biggest single-day take (Saturday with $32.9m), as well as the biggest Friday ($31.6m), Saturday and Sunday ($29m) daily grosses on record. It also played in a record number of theatres - 3,672 - which translates to around 8,000 screens.
The previous three day record was held by Steven Spielberg's 1997 film The Lost World: Jurassic Park which took $72.1m in three days. But Harry Potter not only surpassed The Lost World's three-day gross but also its four day $90.1m take over Memorial Day weekend. Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace took just $64.8m over the Friday to Sunday period of its opening weekend in May 1999, having opened on Wednesday of that week.
If, as is highly likely, Harry gets to $100m on Monday, it will be the fastest film ever to reach that milestone. Star Wars: Episode 1 took five days to get there.
The film's extraordinary penetration to fans and non-fans of the books is also significant because it is a non-sequel, it is opening over a non-holiday weekend and it runs to 152 minutes - limiting saturation playtimes over the course of a day. It is expected to continue to fill theatres over this week's Thanksgiving holiday.
Opening on Wednesday to compete with Potter are Fox's comedy Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence, Universal's thriller Spy Game with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt and Buena Vista's ski-ing teen comedy Out Cold.
Meanwhile Harry Potter had a natural impact on Buena Vista's animated superhit Monsters Inc which fell 49% to take $23m in its third weekend at 3,461 sites to bring its total gross to a massive $156.7m.
On the specialised front, Miramax widened French smash Amelie to 163 theatres scoring $1.3m for a promising screen average of $7,926. Its total so far is $2.7m..
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US NOV 16-18
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (Warner Bros) Warner Bros $93.5m --
2 (1) Monsters Inc (Buena Vista) BVI $23m $156.7m
3 (2) Shallow Hal (20th Century Fox) Fox International $12.7m $41.3m
4 (4) Domestic Disturbance (Paramount) Lakeshore International/UIP $5.6m $33.9m
5 (5) Heist (Warner Bros) Franchise Pictures $4.7m $14.9m
6 (3) The One (Columbia/Revolution) Columbia TriStar/Revolution $4.2m $38.4m
7 (6) K-PAX (Universal) Intermedia $3.3m $45.4m
8 (-) The Wash (Lions Gate) Lions Gate International $3m $3.85m
9 (8) Life As A House (New Line) New Line International $2.7m $9.1m
10 (7) 13 Ghosts (Warner Bros) Warner Bros International $2.2m $37.7m