Final outing in the Potter franchise tops the UK charts and rises up the all-time ranks, while Captain America faces a challenge
Topping the chart yet again, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 fell by a moderate 46%, delivering third-weekend takings of �4.57m. However, once again, the real story is about the film's grosses over the whole week, not just Friday, Saturday and Sunday: with kids now off school for the summer, the past seven days saw cumulative grosses rise by an impressive �11.25m, taking the franchise's conclusion to an astonishing �55.52m after just 17 days.
Although The Prisoner of Azkaban lagged by a few million, the other Potter flicks showed remarkable box-office consistency after three weekends of play, all landing in the �37-40m range at that point of release. The latest film is a remarkable �15m ahead of the pace set by the previous best Potter performer. What's more, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has already exceeded the lifetime totals of all the other Potter films except Philosopher's Stone. Its gross so far is enough to earn it 10th place in the All Time UK Box-office chart (last published version here), just behind Casino Royale. No film has ever earned so much, so quickly at UK cinemas. Next in its sights are the three Lord of the Rings movies, which occupy sixth, seventh and eighth places in the chart. Top five are Avatar, Toy Story 3, Mamma Mia!, Titanic and Philosopher's Stone.
Marvel and distribution partner Paramount proved with Thor that they could deliver a blockbuster opening with a less-than-familiar superhero property: the hammer-wielding alien god debuted on the May Bank Holiday/Royal wedding weekend with a nifty �5.45m, including previews of �2.34m. Repeating the trick has proved more challenging: Captain America: the Next Avenger opens with a less-than-super �2.98m.
The disparity between those two numbers is less dramatic if you strip out Thor's previews, and can easily be explained by differences in the weather over the two weekends. What's more, Thor arrived in a much less competitive environment, before most of the season's blockbusters had arrived. Despite an overwhelmingly British support cast, Captain America looks and feels like a property that has the Stars and Stripes in its DNA ? it's hard to know how that factor will play with British audiences in the long run.
The family-flick faceoff
With schools now broken up for summer, it's no surprise to see family films piling into the nation's plexes. Last week saw Hollywood comedy Zookeeper face off against homegrown effort Horrid Henry: the Movie. And despite a strong voice cast including Adam Sandler, plus the on-screen presence of Kevin James, the talking-animals flick lost out to the naughty-tykes picture, with Horrid Henry outpacing its rival by over �350,000 (ie �1.29m v �936,000). Zookeeper's number represents a dip in fortunes for James: Paul Blart: Mall Cop debuted in 2009 with �1.29m including �167,000 in previews.
Meanwhile Cars 2, now on its second weekend of play, took �1.87m, double Zookeeper's opening tally, delivering a 10-day figure of �8.20m. Based on the performance of the original Cars, this puts the sequel on track to deliver a lifetime total of just over �18m ? a disappointment for Pixar.
The longest-running film in the top 10 is word-of-mouth sensation Bridesmaids, which has now passed the �20m barrier, and is the seventh biggest hit of 2011, behind Deathly Hallows 2, The King's Speech, Pirates 4, Hangover 2, Transformers 3 and Tangled. That puts the Judd Apatow production ahead of several big-budget competitors such as X-Men: First Class, Fast & Furious 5, Thor, Kung Fu Panda and Rio. Bridesmaids is well on track to exceed the original Hangover movie's impressive UK tally of �22.1m.
The arthouse skirmish
The market proved resistant to the fresh arthouse releases on offer, with audiences failing to flock to well-reviewed titles such as Poetry (�7,500 from 12 screens) and A Better Life (�3,600 from six). Studio Ghibli's Arrietty provided an upscale alternative to the mainstream family films on release, but has so far failed to excite the core middle-class audience with a mild �76,000 from 61 screens, including �7,000 in previews. Arrietty was afforded a relatively modest berth after Ghibli's Ponyo belly-flopped in February 2010 with a debut of �155,000 from a too-ambitious 221 screens.
Holdover title Beginners, from Mike Mills, continues to be the top arthouse attraction, with another �100,000 added to its tally, and a gross so far of �393,000. In Ireland, it's all about John McDonagh's The Guard, although there's nothing arthouse about its box-office: �2.22m so far.
Once again, the market is way behind (-33%) the pace set by the equivalent weekend from 2010, when Toy Story 3 was joined by The Karate Kid and The A-Team. Cinemas will be hoping to close the gap in the upcoming frame, which sees the arrival of JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg's Super 8 and Jim Carrey family comedy Mr Popper's Penguins. If the films reflect the success already achieved in the US, expect combined openings around �5.5m.
Top 10 films
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, �4,567,581 from 576 sites. Total: �55,520,549
2. Captain America: The First Avenger, �2,981,590 from 470 sites (New)
3. Cars 2, �1,870,677 from 511 sites. Total: �8,204,497
4. Horrible Bosses, �1,411,725 from 417 sites. Total: �5,288,286
5. Horrid Henry: the Movie, �1,290,308 from 413 sites (New)
6. The Zookeeper, �936,063 from 380 sites (New)
7. Bridesmaids, �732,049 from 396 sites. Total: �20,137,833
8. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, �406,427 from 298 sites. Total: �27,308,685
9. The Guard, �202,031 from 75 sites. Total: �2,213,833 (Ireland only)
10. Beginners, �100,334 from 62 sites. Total: �393,070
Arrietty, �68,290 from 61 screens (+ �7,294 previews)
Jihne Mera Dil Luteya, �22,781 from 13 screens
Poetry, �7,479 from 12 screens
A Better Life, �3,565 from 6 screens
Whiskey Galore, �1,660 from 3 screens
Our Day Will Come, �803 from 1 screen (+1,344 previews)
The Light Thief, �719 from 2 screens (+ �546 previews)