YOUNG MOVIEGOERS GIVE HARRY A MAGICAL WEEK

The box office remained under the spell of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix over the weekend as the Warner Bros. film added an estimated $77.4 million to its gross, bringing its total since Wednesday to $140 million in North America. (Screenings in 91 IMAX theaters accounted for $7.3 million of the total, making it the biggest IMAX opening on record.) The film raked in even more overseas, it made an estimated $190.3 million in 44 countries -- the biggest overseas opening ever for a Warner Bros. movie -- bringing its worldwide total to $330 million. Although the results were in line with analysts' predictions, the opening of the movie did not have an acute negative impact on attendance for holdovers -- as had also been predicted. Hardest hit was last weekend's top film, Transformers, down 49 percent to a nevertheless better-than-expected $36 million, bringing its 13-day total to $223 million. Ratatouille declined just 38 percent to $18 million, to bring its 17-day gross to $143 million. (Disney pointed out that "no other animated film had a drop of under 40 percent against a Harry Potter opening until now.") Live Free or Die Hard was down 39 percent to $10.9 million, as its total crossed the $100-million mark to $102.9 million. Showing the smallest drop was Michael Moore's documentary Sicko, which was down only 26 percent from the previous weekend as it made $2.6 million, to bring its three-week total to $15.8 million. Overall, the box office was up 14 percent over the comparable weekend a year ago. The only negative box-office news was that horror flick Captivity, the only other new film besides Harry to open wide, tanked with just $1.4 million, putting it out of the top-ten.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:

1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, $77.4 million; 2. Transformers, $36 million; 3. Ratatouille, $18 million; 4. Live Free or Die Hard, $10.9 million; 5. License to Wed, $7.4 million; 6. 1408, $5.01 million; 7. Evan Almighty, $5 million; 8. Knocked Up, $3.7 million; 9. Sicko, $2.65 million; 10. Ocean's Thirteen, $1.9 million.

BOX OFFICE TUMBLES IN BRITAIN

Although the overall box office rose slightly in the U.S. in 2006, it was down for the second consecutive year in the U.K. as total admissions fell from 164.7 million in 2005 to 156.6 million in 2006, according to figures released today (Monday) by the U.K. Film Council. David Steele, head of research and statistics, forecast a modest turn-around in 2007. "Admissions are likely to be up with the release of major productions such as the new Harry Potter installment and could reach 160 million," he said. Attendance at U.K. theaters appeared to be up during the midweek, with 40 percent of all ticket sales being recorded on Monday through Thursday, up from 32 percent in 2002.

PORN PRODUCER MITCHELL DIES IN PETALUMA, CA

Jim Mitchell, one-half of the Mitchell Brothers production company that became one of the most successful pornographic movie studios ever formed, died Thursday at his ranch near Petaluma, CA at age 63, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Monday). The cause of death was not disclosed. Mitchell, who with younger brother Artie, turned out such adult film hits as Behind the Green Door, starring Marilyn Chambers, Resurrection of Eve, and Sodom and Gomorrah: The Last 7 Days, served six years in prison after he killed Artie in 1991. A film about the Mitchell Bros., Rated X, ran on Showtime in 2000.
Cinemark Movie Club

Brian B.