Box Office: Harry Potter and the Big Bag of Cash

Harry and his fellow wizards should have give the kids more time to miss them more often, if this week’s box office take for the film, the sixth in the franchise, is any indication. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” proves that absence makes the heart grow fonder, as the film, opening two years after the last one, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, swooped in for the kill to the tune of $159 million in five days of release, according to studio estimates. That’s the second biggest 5-day Wednesday opening, bested only by Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” earlier this Summer.

The $159 million it scored at the U.S. box office, combined with the $237 million it took in in overseas markets in the same time period, gives “Half-Blood Prince” a total of $396 million in just five days of release. At this rate, the film should easily overtake the $300 million mark at the Stateside box office, which would be the first time for the “Potter” franchise since the original did it back in 2001.

As expected, last week’s #1, Sascha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno” fell out of first place, but surprisingly, didn’t even manage to hold onto the second or third spot doing so. Instead, the controversial comedy landed at #4 with another $8 million. That gives the film a 2-week total of $49.5 million. Not a bad haul, but considering the $128 million of “Borat”, it will be a shock if “Bruno” manages what appears to be non-existent legs and cracks the $100 million threshold. Instead, “Bruno” gave ground to “Ice Age 3″ and “Transformers 2″, which reclaimed the second and third spot, respectively.

With the big bear claws of “Harry Potter” on the horizon, the week’s only other new offering was the romantic comedy “500 Days of Summer”, which opened out of the Top 10 at #12 in limited release. The counter-programming film made $838,000, not bad for a movie opening in just 27 screens. The film also had a stellar $31,000 per screen average, almost double that of “Half-Blood Prince”.

Here’s the Top 10 at the box office (via):

1 —–Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince —–$79,475,000—–$159,662,000
2 —–Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs —–$17,700,000—–$152,005,000
3 —–Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen—–$13,750,000 —–$363,867,000
4 —–Bruno —– $8,374,000 —–$49,588,000
5 —–The Hangover —–$8,315,000 —– $235,882,000
6 —–The Proposal —–$8,294,000 —– $128,087,000
7 —–Public Enemies —– $7,592,000 —– $79,483,000
8 —–Up —–$3,147,000 —–$279,559,000
9 —–My Sister’s Keeper —–$2,825,000 —–$41,504,000
10 —–I Love You Beth Cooper —–$2,665,000 —–$10,261,000

Below: Why so glum, kids? Did you hear? Your flick made $159 million! Aw, whatever. Kids these days.