When Harry met Hairy, the whole family showed up. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and the Disney animated feature Tangled took in nearly $100 million over the weekend and close to $150 million for the five-day Thanksgiving span.
DH1, the first half of the windup to the fabulously successful movie franchise, just keeps J.K. Rowling in dough. In its second week in North American theaters, the boy wizard's pre-finale won both the usual Friday-to-Sunday weekend, with $50.3 million, and the full five-day turkey trot, with $78.8 million, according to early studio estimates. In their first 10 days, Harry, Hermione and Ron have earned $220.4 million, or about $10 million less than Edward, Bella and Jacob bit off in the same period last year for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Like the Twilight films, DH1 has racked up the majority of its revenue abroad: its worldwide total has already flown past the $600 million mark. Never underestimate the lure of teen trios with magical powers.
But as an overachiever, Tangled takes the prize. An arduous six years in production, with numerous directors and reimagineerings and a final budget in the $260 million range, which may make it the costliest animated feature ever this makeover of the Grimm brothers' Rapunzel story was seen as just another old-fashioned Disney film: plucky heroine, romantic dude, cute critters and a full sheaf of songs from composer Alan Menken. That recipe hadn't created box office magic in decades, not since The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Industry touts forecast another Disney disappointment, like last year's The Princess and the Frog, and predicted that Tangled would earn a modest $40 million to $50 million over the five days. Instead, the picture amassed a fairy-tale $69 million, for the second biggest Thanksgiving week opening, after the $80.1 million for Toy Story 2 in 1999.
The gross was stoked by higher ticket prices from theaters showing it in 3-D, and also by a rapturous A-plus from CinemaScore's polling of people who'd just seen the movie, which suggests that word of mouth will sustain Tangled's popularity during the holiday season. Hoping to broaden the audience from tween girls to guys and gals of all ages, Disney switched the movie's title from Rapunzel to Tangled and aired commercials that emphasized the supporting male role. Still, the audience for the first week was 65% female. Then again, what's so bad about girl power when it plays into the Mouse House's vaunted strategy of synergy? As Disney Channel teen star Kyle Massey got weeks of golden exposure vamping his way to second place in the latest edition of Dancing with the Stars, so Tangled will have little girls pestering their parents for Christmas gifts of Rapunzel gowns, tiaras and possibly hair extensions.
Burlesque, another new musical aimed at females, served up a dueling-diva battle with Cher, 64, in a big picture for the first time since 1990's Mermaids, and former pop hottie Christina Aguilera, 29. The project seems to be at least a decade out of date. As Deadline Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke mused this weekend, "Why anybody bothered to make Burlesque or give it such a wide release might be a mystery. Until it's revealed that Screen Gems chief Clint Culpepper greenlighted his boyfriend's $55+ million passion project. (Their on-set strife over budget, schedule and creative decisions resulted in the most expensive film in Screen Gems history, and word is they're now broken up after 20 years. Awkward.)" Burlesque opened a bit short of its predicted $20 million goal, taking in $17.2 million over the first five days. Nearly 70% of those attending were women, with the film reaping an A-minus CinemaScore overall, and another A-minus from the six or eight men questioned perhaps while their wives, girlfriends or beaux were hovering proprietarily nearby.
With no singing but a good deal of moaning in the ballyhooed lovemaking scenes, Love & Other Drugs took the scraps from the female contingent, earning $14 million in its five-day opening. Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal may make a handsome pair of bedmates, but they're not the biggest box office tandem; and as we've noted before, the promise of onscreen sex repels audiences from theaters, rather than attracting them. (People wait for the DVD and watch intimate scenes at home.) As for Faster, the only new movie appealing to men, it managed a tepid $12.2 million. The R-rated action film stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who has become so typecast in big-guy-babysitter comedies 2007's The Game Plan earned $90.6 million at the domestic box office, while this year's Tooth Fairy earned $60 million that his core demographic may have forgotten he was once the charismatic king of pro wrestling.
Another monarch reigned in the indie-film realm. The King's Speech, the inspirational true-life tale of the stammering King George VI (Colin Firth) and his elocution teacher (Geoffrey Rush), opened in four theaters in New York City and Los Angeles and earned a regal $349,791, for a year-highest $87,448 per-screen average. Ever since its exposure at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals in September, the movie has been widely picked as a major player in the forthcoming Oscar race. Harvey Weinstein, who in his Miramax days promoted three films (The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love and Chicago) on their way to winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, is surely hoping that, by Oscar night, viewers will have forgotten the girl with the tangled hair and remember only the man with the twisted tongue.
Here are the 10 top-grossing pictures in North American theaters, as reported by Box Office Mojo. We list the estimated totals for both the weekend (Friday-Sunday) and the five-day Thanksgiving frame (Wednesday-Sunday).
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, $50.3 million weekend, $78.8 million five days; $220.4 million, second week
2. Tangled, $49.1 million weekend, $69 million five days; first week
3. Megamind, $12.5 million weekend, $17.6 million five days; $130.5 million, fourth week
4. Burlesque, $11.8 million weekend, $17.2 million five days; first week
5. Unstoppable, $11.7 million weekend, $16.2 million five days; $60.7 million, third week
6. Love & Other Drugs, $9.85 million weekend, $14 million five days; first week
7. Faster, $8.7 million weekend, $12.2 million five days; first week
8. Due Date, $7.3 million weekend, $10.4 million five days; $85 million, fourth week
9. The Next Three Days, $4.8 million weekend, $6.6 million five days; $14.5 million, second week
10. Morning Glory, $4 million weekend, $5.5 million five days; $26.5 million, third week