The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Potter record

London, Nov. 19 (Reuters): Harry Potter has waved his magic wand over the British box office, breaking his own record to score the country’s highest opening weekend of all time.

“It is a massive start,” said Robert Mitchell, box office analyst at Screen International after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets clocked up £10.3 million at the tills.

“This is the highest opening weekend of all time in Britain,” he said today after publication of the figures from Britain’s box office bible.

The new saga, given its world premiere in London earlier this month, appeared on 1,275 screens in Britain. “That is the largest number of screens anything has gone out on — about 40 per cent of all the screens in the country,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell forecast that Potter could hold his own against both James Bond and Frodo Baggins. The two other festive blockbusters are the 20th Bond movie — Die Another Day — and the second film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Cancan cut

Paris (Reuters): A group of dancers at the glitzy Paris Lido nightclub staged a walk-out moments before the curtain went up, complaining over shoddy working conditions they say have left them too exhausted to do the high-kick. Nine of the club’s 44 dancers announced they were going on strike some 30 minutes before the curtain lifted last Saturday, but the show went on without them, a spokesman at the historic venue on the Champs-Elysees said. “They told us half-an-hour before the show, which wasn’t very nice for the audience. We were able to replace a few of them, but there were still some gaps on stage,” he said. The dancers, who normally perform in two back-to-back shows six nights a week and undergo up to 30 costume changes in each, are protesting over long hours and a lack of job security.

Sick swing

Berlin (Reuters): A group of weary Berliners have gone to court to try to close down a swingers’ club on the ground floor of their building whose members’ moans of pleasure and screams of delight are keeping them awake. “My wife has to reach for the ear plugs every night because the unmistakable sounds of sexual intercourse can be heard throughout the building,” said one lawyer who lives on the first floor, directly above the club known as “Zwielicht” — a German word meaning both “twilight” and “dubious”. “We’ve been forced to come up with our own noise to drown out the sounds from down below,” he added.

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