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rules US box-office news
Our Convergence Bureau
26 November 2001

Mumbai: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone kept movie audiences spellbound over the US Thanksgiving holiday weekend, holding on handily to the No 1 spot at the box-office, reports from Los Angeles say.

The movie about the boy wizard grossed $83.5 million in the US and Canada for the five days beginning 19 November, taking its 10-day total to more than $188 million. The film smashed box-office records in its opening the previous weekend, grossing $93.5 million in the US and Canada in its first three days of release.

Despite the strong performance by Harry Potter, this year's Thanksgiving weekend box-office take for the top 12 films fell nearly 13 per cent to an estimated $203 million from last year's all-time high of $232 million, according to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations.

Last year, the most popular Thanksgiving movie was Dr Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The movie starring Jim Carrey in heavy green makeup grossed $73.5 million over the five-day holiday period of 2000.

Based on the first of four wildly popular children's books by British author J K Rowling, the hugely hyped Harry Potter has been one of the most widely anticipated films of the year, and box-office analysts predict it could end up as one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.

Some experts say the film stands a good chance of beating the 13-day record set in 1999 by Star Wars: Episode I - the Phantom Menace as the fastest film to gross $200 million at the box-office. By then, the movie will have more than earned back the $165 million it reportedly cost Warner Bros, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc to produce and market the film in North America.

Walt Disney Co.'s animated Monsters, Inc held steady at the No 2 spot on the box-office chart, taking in $33.1 million over the long holiday weekend. Monsters has grossed $193 million in four weeks of release.

New entries Spy Game and Black Knight came in third and fourth at $30.5 million and $16.1 million respectively. Spy Game, released by Universal Pictures, a unit of Vivendi Universal, stars Robert Redford as a veteran CIA officer and Brad Pitt as his protege. In Black Knight, Martin Lawrence plays a worker at a medieval theme park who gets knocked on the head and wakes up in real medieval times. The movie was released by Twentieth Century Fox, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group Inc.

Shallow Hal, a comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit, slipped from third to fifth place, followed by Out Cold, a new comedy about snowboarding, that took in $6.9 million and the No 6 box-office position for the five-day period.

The John Travolta drama Domestic Disturbance (Paramount) dropped to No 7 from No 4 in its fourth week with $5.5 million. Its total is $40 million. Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc. Heist (Warner Bros), a thriller starring Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito, took in $4.3 million, slipping to No 8 from No 5. It has grossed $20.3 million in total.

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rules US box-office