1. Boxoffice: Bond Rocks!

    By Tim Roth on 2002-11-26

    Reuters report;

    Bond Has Record ‘Day’ at U.S. Box Office
    Sun November 24, 2002 11:00 PM ET

    By Dean Goodman
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Super spy James Bond outwitted young wizard Harry Potter at the North American box office, stirring up a new record for the venerable 007 franchise, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.

    “Die Another Day,” marking Pierce Brosnan’s fourth assignment as the suave English agent, opened at No. 1 with an estimated three-day tally of $47 million from 3,314 theaters across the United States and Canada.

    It beat the record held by the last Bond movie, “The World Is Not Enough,” which opened with $35.5 million in 1999. It also marks the second-biggest bow for distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, after last year’s “Hannibal” ($58 million).

    Last weekend’s champ, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” slipped to No. 2 with $42.4 million from 3,682 theaters in its second round. “Friday After Next,” the third installment in rapper Ice Cube’s “Friday” comedies, opened at No. 3 with $13.1 million from about 1,600 theaters.

    The Bond film marks the 20th official release since Sean Connery kicked off the series with “Dr. No” in 1962. The $125 million production was directed by New Zealander Lee Tamahori.

    Oscar-winner Halle Berry co-starred as Jinx, an American spy who teams up with Bond to take on a North Korean bad guy. Her casting brought out more black moviegoers than usual, said Erik Lomis, MGM’s president of theatrical distribution.


    Exit polling indicated 85 percent of all moviegoers rated “Die Another Day” either very good or excellent, with 70 percent saying they would definitely recommend it, Lomis said. “I think that the public thinks that James Bond is the coolest guy on Earth.”

    In its initial foreign outings, Bond also shook up some strong numbers in Britain, Spain, France and French-speaking Switzerland. Its total foreign tally was $23 million, MGM said.

    Harry Potter, meanwhile, has conjured up $148.5 million after 10 days in North American release. The Warner Bros. release passed the century mark in its sixth day of release, just one day slower than its 2001 predecessor, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” The studio, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc, is braced for a strong third weekend, when sales will benefit from the Thanksgiving holiday, a four-day break for many Americans.

    The family fantasy’s foreign total rose to $128 million after a $55 million weekend haul from 20 countries, a Warner Bros. statement said. The film opened in Japan, the biggest overseas market, with a record $16 million. After two weekends, “Harry Potter” has earned $52 million in Britain and $32 million in Germany.

    “Friday After Next,” follows Ice Cube’s farcical attempts to track down an evil Santa. Ice Cube also produced and wrote the script. The film, budgeted at just under $20 million, played well to young audiences across all races, said a spokeswoman for the film’s distributor, New Line Cinema, also a unit of AOL Time Warner.

    Its predecessor, “Next Friday,” opened at No. 1 with $13.9 million during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend in 2000.

    Rounding out the top five were the Tim Allen comedy “The Santa Clause” at No. 4 with $10.3 million, and the Eminem drama “8 Mile” at No. 5 with $8.7 million. Their respective totals are $95 million after 24 days, and $97.7 million after 17 days.

    The top 10 contained one other new release, the Kevin Kline school drama “The Emperor’s Club,” which opened at No. 7 with $4.1 million from a barely wide release of just 809 theaters. By contrast, the top two movies played on more than 3,000 theaters each.

    “The Santa Clause 2” was released by Walt Disney Pictures, a unit of Walt Disney Co “8 Mile” and “The Emperor’s Club” were released by Universal Pictures, a unit of Vivendi Universal SA.

    In the United Kingdom Die Another Day made £6.88 million on the first weekend in comparison £7.29 million made by the 2nd Harry Potter installment.

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