Those who claimed this weekend would see a battle between Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the Johnny Depp-Tim Burton movie collaboration Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the attentions of youngsters were wrong.
Harry sold a record 6.9 million copies, while Charlie soared high, too – merrily making an estimated $55.4 million at the box office.
Granted, there are no precise figures on how well Rowling’s book stacked up against the Depp-Burton movie, and Hollywood execs are still trying to measure the impact of the two phenoms coming out almost simultaneously this weekend. (The screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel came out Friday morning, while the sixth volume in the “Harry” series went on sale midnight Saturday.)
“That’s a hard call,” Dan Fellman, president of domestic theatrical distribution at Warner Bros., tells Reuters. “You just can’t put your finger on it.”
Still, for Depp, whose earlier collaborations with Burton include Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, Charlie marked his biggest opening ever, surpassing the $46.6 million debut for his 2003 blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. In this new movie, he plays weird candy mogul Willy Wonka.
This was also a very good weekend for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, whose raunchy buddy comedy The Wedding Crashers landed in second place, making $32.2 million, according to studio estimates.
Charlie and Crashers bumped last weekend’s No. 1 flick, Fantastic Four, which slipped to third place with $22.7 million, bringing its 10-day total to $100.1 million.
Rounding out the top-five were Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, with $15 million (total: $192.2 million), and Christian Bale in Batman Begins, with $5.6 million (total: $182.7 million).