Harry Potter Reclaims Records from Spider-Man

According to Box Office Mojo, Prisoner of Azkaban is fast reclaiming the records Spider-Man stripped Sorcerer's Stone of -- namely, top opening day (est. $41 million vs. Spidey's $39.4 million) and, possibly, biggest opening weekend e

June 4-6, 2004: Weekend Projections and Analysis

Rank. Movie Title (Distributor) / Theater Count
Weekend Projection | % Change | Total Gross | Week #

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Bros.) / 3,855 $116 million | - | $116 million | 1 As school breaks for the summer, children of all ages are enrolling at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in record numbers.

'Prisoner of Azkaban' is fast reclaiming the records 'Spider-Man' stripped 'Sorcerer's Stone' of -- namely, top opening day (est. $41 million vs. Spidey's $39.4 million) and, possibly, biggest opening weekend ever (besting Spidey's $114.8 million). Without Saturday numbers, it's too early to hand the weekend crown to 'Harry' at this point -- for a heavy fan favorite performing at these levels, a significant Saturday boost is no cinch -- but one doesn't need to read tea leaves to see the likelihood.

What's more certain is that this weekend as a whole will be the highest grossing ever, likely soaring to over $200 million and beating the current record $185.6 million the top 12 generated last weekend.

'Potter' will be that rare franchise where the third movie actually out-shines its predecessor ('Spy Kids,' 'Scary Movie,' 'Batman,' etc.) and, rarer still, where the third tops the original as well ('Lord of the Rings'). 'Sorcerer's Stone' opened to $90.3 million and closed with $317.6 million, while 'Chamber of Secrets' bowed to $88.4 million en route to $262.0 million.

Most successful sequels bow at the same time of year as their predecessor, but Warner Bros.' shook things up by shifting 'Harry' from his usual November home to June -- the seasonal change coinciding with 'Prisoner of Azkaban's director and tonal changes. That decision was even made before Pixar landed its greatest success by straying from its standard November release to post-Memorial Day summer with last year's 'Finding Nemo.'

To think, in recent weeks, concern was expressed in the media that the marketing wasn't as intense as 'Potters' past and that the young fans may have out-grown the franchise. What was forgotten was 'Potter's broad-based support among young and old and its thematic universality and literary basis that transcended a mere fad like 'Pokemon' -- kids are growing up along with Harry, Ron and Hermione, while books are being passed down to create new fans.

But some might say beware 'Potter.' Something webbed this way comes.

2. Shrek 2 (DreamWorks) / 4,131
$40 million | -45% | $317 million | 3
As the third 'Harry Potter' enters the record books, the first one's total is about to be surpassed by 'Shrek 2.' The ornery ogre is almost behaving like 'Harry Potter' didn't enter the marketplace, enjoying a solid post-Memorial Day drop. Despite 'Potter's potency out of the gate, this is still the movie to be beat for 2004's top honors.

3. The Day After Tomorrow (Fox) / 3,444
$27 million | -60% | $128 million | 2
Friday-to-Friday, director Roland Emmerich's $125 million disaster picture plummeted an estimated 65%. By comparison, Emmerich's last Memorial Day opus, 1998's 'Godzilla,' plunged 64% on its 2nd Friday (59% for the weekend overall). Although, 'Day' won't live in the same infamy -- it will soon eclipse 'Godzilla's $136.3 million total.

4. Raising Helen (Disney) / 2,721
$7 million | -35% | $25 million | 2

5. Troy (Warner Bros.) / 2,750
$6 million | -50% | $119 million | 4

6. Mean Girls (Paramount) / 1,817
$2.8 million | -44% | $78 million | 6

7. Soul Plane (MGM) / 1,566
$2.6 million | -54% | $11 million | 2

8. Van Helsing (Universal) / 2,059
$2.5 million | -52% | $115 million | 5

9. Man on Fire (Fox) / 683
$1.1 million | -51% | $75 million | 7

10. Super Size Me (Roadside/IDP) / 205
$0.8 million | -23% | $6.2 million | 5

Projections based on Friday and Saturday estimates: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/daily/chart/

Weekend studio estimates will be posted on the site Sunday by around 9:30 a.m. Pacific time at: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=2004&wknd=23&p=.htm


Top Opening Days http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/days/?page=open&p=.htm

Top Opening Weekends http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/weekends/

Top Aggregated Weekends http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/weekends/top12sum.htm

'Harry Potter' Daily Showdown http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=vs-harrypotter.htm

'Stark Trek II' and 'Poltergeist' each bowed on this same weekend (June
4-6) in 1982 http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=1982&wknd=23&p=.htm
0 Yes
0 No
Box Office Mojo Newsletter