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With Hollywood’s current release pattern of never ending blockbusters week after week it’s become increasingly rare for any movie, no matter how successful, to spend multiple weeks holding down the box office’s top spot. Still, you’d have thought Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince might have a chance this weekend when the only real competition was another horrible Katherine Heigl movie and a film about a bunch of CGI, talking rats. Not so much.
The fuzzy little hamsters of G-Force trounced Harry Potter in his second weekend at the box office, beating his $30 million second weekend with a sound $32 million opening. Harry dropped a disappointing 62% from his first week. A 50% drop is the norm for any big blockbuster so it’s not all gloom and doom, still you have to think with all the great reviews and all around positive buzz that Warner Bros. might have been hoping to hang on to a little more of their audience.
Maybe it didn’t help that the San Diego Comic Con was this weekend and around 200,000 people from their primary audience pool were locked away in a California convention center. Probably parents were just starved for something to do with their younger kids. Though it’s rated PG, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince contains a lot of snogging which, might not exactly be bread and butter for families with children in the under eight realm. CGI hamsters on the other hand, no matter how poorly written, are a slam dunk.
Yet there’s better news to be had outside the weekend’s top ten. 500 Days of Summer is still going strong, expanding slowly across the country into ever more theaters. This weekend it widened out onto 85 screens and as a result, jumped a ridiculous 95% in box office totals to land just outside the top ten in the number eleven spot with $1.6 million earned. It’s also great news for another critical darling, The Hurt Locker which has now widened to play on 238 screens and came in not far behind 500 Days of Summer at number thirteen, after increasing it’s box office take a fantastic 98%. Expect to see both of these films continuing to climb the charts as strong word of mouth and a widening release pattern gives more audiences a chance to seek them out. And seriously, seek them out. It’s worth the trouble.
Here’s the full weekend top ten: