'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' Sets Records at Box Office

ByAndrew Johnston

Nov. 19, 2001 -- The debut of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone left few box office records unbroken as it made $93.5 million disappear from the wallets of American moviegoers over the weekend.

The adaptation of J.K. Rowling's best-selling fantasy novel easily topped the mark for biggest three-day gross ($72.1 million for The Lost World: Jurassic Park back in 1997), and its $32.9 million Saturday is now the biggest one-day take in history (beating the $28.5 million opening day of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace). The film also stands a chance of hitting the $100 million benchmark faster than any previous film, depending on its Sunday and Monday performance. And it could happen all over again as soon as a year from now, as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets starts shooting this week.

With so much action on top, it's no surprise that the rest of the top 10 barely changed. The only other new movie to crack the list was The Wash, a comedy starring gangster rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, which came in 8th (the same spot in which Snoop's already-forgotten Bones opened last month).

With Monsters, Inc. and Potter jumping the gun on Thanksgiving, only two movies are opening wide for the holiday itself — Martin Lawrence's Black Knight and the Robert Redford/Brad Pitt thriller Spy Game — but neither seems likely to dust Harry's broom.

Andrew Johnston is a film critic and associate editor at US WEEKLY magazine.

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