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SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince opened with made $51.8M Wednesday, $21.9M Thursday, $26.8 million Friday and $29M Saturday from 4,275 theaters. With Sunday’s aggressive estimate of $23.2M (too aggressive?), that’s a $79.5M three-day weekend and a $159.7M first-five-day total. Harry Potter 6 won’t get close to Transformers 2,” a rival studio emailed me tonight. “And it’s getting farther behind TF2 every day.” (2007’s Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix finished with a $77M weekend/$140M first five days.) Box office total was $396.7 million including foreign for the strongest Harry Potter franchise start ever.

On Wednesday, HP6 broke the worldwide box office record for opening day with more than $104 million by combining the domestic gross of $58.18M and the international totals of $45.85M. Unlike TF2HP6 with a PG rating is selling more discounted kiddie tickets. And it had virtually no biz from higher priced IMAX theaters: just 3 venues compared to TF2‘s 169. When Warner Bros delayed the latest pic in the 8-year-old Harry Potter franchise from last November, the studio could book only three IMAX theaters day and date since the rest are committed to Transformers 2 for a one-month exclusive run. And the film based on JK Rowling’s books still has many countries, as well as many Imax locations in North America (nationwide July 29th), to open.

Meanwhile, last week’s #1 movie in North America, Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary Bruno, imploded this weekend in 2,759 venues — down a staggering -80% for just $2.8M Friday and -66% for $3M Saturday to finish in 5th place. And only a $8M weekend and new cume of $49.2M. “When you know it’s going to be bad , it’s always a little worse,” a rival studio exec snarked. Despite omnipresent marketing and huge awareness, Bruno still had problems that the distributing studio couldn’t overcome. The mockumentary’s graphic depiction of male genitalia front and back, its last-minute editing to tone down the content for an “R” rating, the controversy over Sacha’s depiction of homosexuals and heterosexuals, may have all contributed to the film’s difficulty at the box office its 2nd weekend when the watercooler effect kicked in. It was clear from last weekend’s exit polling scores that audiences were unhappy with what they saw on screen. So Universal’s summer losing streak keeps going on and on…

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Fox’s Ice Age 3-D: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs was an easy #2 with $5.4M Friday and $7M Saturday from 3,817 dates for another $17.7M weekend and $152M cume. Paramount’s Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen came in 3rd with $4.5M Friday and $5.4M Saturday from 3,857 runs for a $13.7M weekend on its way to a $363.8M domestic cume. And Disney’s The Proposal was #4 with $2.7M Friday and $3.3M Saturday for a projected $8.3M weekend and $128.1M cume. Why? Sneaks of Ugly Truth that sold out everywhere and were mostly coupled with The Proposal.

Expectedly, this will be a big down weekend of $155M — -40% — because HP6 opened on a Wednesday, and 2008’s The Dark Knight alone grossed $158M. Total weekend box office last year was $255M.

FRIDAY AM: Warner Bros says Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince added $21.9 million Thursday. The PG pic’s two-day total is now $80.1M.

THURSDAY PM: Warner Bros announced today that its Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince has broken the worldwide box office record for opening day with more than $104 million by combining the domestic gross of $58.18 million and the international total of $45.85 million. And the PG film based on JK Rowling’s books still has many countries, as well as many Imax locations in North America (nationwide July 29th), to open. But in its first round of day and date territories, HP6 posted the Netherland’s best opening ever, the UK’s 3rd highest, Italy’s 2nd biggest, and Australia’s 3rd largest.

THURSDAY AM: Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince opened Wednesday with a total of $58.4 million from a huge release into 4,275 theaters, the 4th biggest single-day gross ever and the second biggest single-day Wednesday gross in box office history. It included a record-breaking $22.8M in post-midnight shows on 3,003 screens. But that’s short of the $62M Wednesday opening grosses made by Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen in June. Of course, there are also mitigating factors. With a PG rating, HP6 is selling more discounted kiddie tickets. And it had virtually no biz from higher priced IMAX theaters: just 3 venues compared to TF2‘s 169. When Warner Bros delayed the latest pic in the 8-year-old Harry Potter franchise from last November, the studio could book only three IMAX theaters day and date since the rest are committed to Transformers 2 for a one-month exclusive run. 

WEDNESDAY AM: First, Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen broke the Wednesday post-midnight record with $16 million in June. Now Warner Bros’ 6th film of the Harry Potter shatters that record and more, beating the $18M all-time post-midnight record set by the studio’s own The Dark Knight. Meanwhile, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince not only opened with $22.2 million in 12:01 AM Wednesday shows but also bested by a big margin the $12M in post-midnight dates that its predecessor Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix debuted in 2007. (That HP5 went on to gross $139.7M over its first 5 days.) My box office gurus predict that, this time around, HP6 could haul in as much as $200M from its gigantic release into 4,275 North American theaters for its first 5 days — despite all those half-price kiddie tickets — and at least a $100M 3-day weekend.

Look, no reason to be coy. This latest Harry Potter, especially because it’s PG, is gonna make a mint. And it’s all the more impressive because Warner Bros, when they delayed the pic from last November, could book only three IMAX theaters day and date since the rest are committed to Transformers 2 for at least another week or two. Meanwhile, WB spent $250M to make the film and another $155M to market and distribute it around the globe. But it will take the pic this week to debut in all its international territories. What amazes me about the Harry Potter franchise is that it’s better than it has to be. Look how the Spider-Man and Pirates Of The Caribbean franchises descended into mediocrity (or worse) after an auspicious start. Not since Lord Of The Rings has a franchise been this fresh and original and true to its books.