January 02, 2002 01:05 PM

Magic worked at the box office this past year, as evidenced by the three top-grossing flicks of 2001: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Shrek” and “Monsters, Inc.” And Hollywood is looking at a fairy tale finish for the year, unlike many other industries. North American ticket sales for the year are likely to crack the $8 billion barrier for the first time in history, according to projections announced Monday by box office tracking services. This will mark a record 10th straight year of annual expansions in total movie receipts. If you’re looking for a trend, that’s child’s play: kids’ movies — especially computer-animated ones. Unlike 1999, which produced one monster hit, the $400 million money-making machine “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” 2001 brought a solid slate of commercial successes throughout the year, including 17 films that passed the $100 million mark and a record five movies that entered the $200 million club. The Top 10 movies of 2001 and their North American ticket takes (through Sun., Dec. 30) are as follows:

1. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” $286 million
2. “Shrek,” $267 million
3. “Monsters, Inc.,” $236 million
4. “Rush Hour 2,” $226 million
5. “The Mummy Returns,” $202 million
6. “Pearl Harbor,” $198.5 million
7. “Jurassic Park III,” $181 million
8. “Planet of the Apes,” $180 million
9. “Hannibal,” $165 million
10. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” $154 million

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