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Monday, July 27, 2009

'G-Force' surprisingly upends 'Harry Potter' for top spot, July 24-26, 2009

It was a brief run at the top for Warner's hit sequel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as the unsuspecting wizard saga was upended by Disney's cute and cuddly G-Force after just one week in No. 1. In third was the debut of the Katherine Heigl-Gerard Butler romantic comedy The Ugly Truth, which bowed strongly despite poor reviews.

Taking advantage of 1,600 3D screens that largely came from rival Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Disney's G-Force found its way to the top spot this weekend with a strong $32.2 million. The PG-rated children's actioner surprisingly knocked off what was expected to be another No. 1 finish for Harry Potter, averaging $8,697 in 3,697 theaters. The live-action release followed successful 3D runs by animated pics Up and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, both of which took advantage of the higher ticket prices for 3D-equipped theaters. However, given the limited available of 3D screens around the country, one movie normally dominates the 3D screen theater count at the expense of another, in this case that film being Fox's Ice Age 3, which fell a steep 53% in its fourth week of release.

Falling a precipitous 62% in its second week of release, Warner's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince slipped to second with $30 million, bringing its 12-day cume to a whopping $221.8 million. Despite the huge drop, Prince is still running 7% ahead of 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix over the same time frame. Budgeted at a monstrous $250 million, the big budget sequel continued to dominate internationally, pulling in another $84.4 million. In 64 markets the film has amassed an overseas total of $405.3 million, bringing its worldwide haul to $627.1 million.

Sony's romantic comedy The Ugly Truth posted a strong $27 million in third, averaging an impressive $9,368 in 2,882 theaters. The R-rated debut bested Katherine Heigl's previous hit comedy 27 Dresses, which opened with $23 million on its way to $76.8 million in January 2008. Despite overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics, the film managed to fill a significant vacuum in the marketplace for women and couples now that The Proposal is in its sixth week of release.

Opening mildly in fourth was the new horror pic Orphan, which bowed with $12.8 million in 2,750 theaters. Averaging $4,644 per theater, the R-rated thriller was butchered by critics and fell a steep 10% from Friday to Saturday, indicating soft word of mouth.

Fox's blockbuster computer-animated comedy Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs fell 53% (its largest drop to date) to $8.2 million, bringing its four week cume to $171.3 million. The film saw many of its 3D screens taken away and given to Disney's G-Force. At its current pace, the film looks on target to match or beat the finally domestic tally of its predecessor Ice Age: The Meltdown ($195.3 million). Overseas, the film has been an absolute monster, adding $40.6 million bringing its international cume to $505.4 million. In just four weeks the film has amassed $676.7 million worldwide.

Thanks to a surprisingly huge drop from Harry Potter, the top ten films fell 19% from last year's comparable frame when The Dark Knight held onto the top spot with $75.2 million.

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