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Potter casts new box office spell

Los Angeles, Nov. 18: Harry Potter has proved his box-office magic again after the latest film of the boy wizard’s adventures took £54 million in America in its first three days.

This was £6 million less than the first film but Dan Fellman, the head of distribution for Warner Brothers, the makers of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which opened on Friday, said: “The first movie was a cultural event. I think Potter at that moment was truly at its peak.”

The first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, went on to gross £650 million worldwide after its release last November, making it the second biggest film of all time after Titanic.

Despite being beaten by its predecessor, Chamber of Secrets has still achieved the third biggest weekend debut, ahead of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.

Early critical reaction to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has hailed it as superior to the first instalment — reviews credited its darker imagery as indications of a more sophisticated approach — causing Warner Brothers to speculate that it could have a longer theatrical life than its predecessor and possibly exceed its total gross.

Cinemas across the US have already reported that children were skipping school on Friday to attend early showings.

In Los Angeles the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood said queues started to form as early as eight in the morning for the first screening.

Pirated films

Available on the street at just $3, pirated DVD versions of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets went on sale in Malaysia the weekend the movie made its worldwide debut. It also opened at cinemas in Malaysia — regarded by the entertainment industry as one of Asia’s hotspots for piracy — as well as Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore.

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