Story by: Jack Foley
HARRY Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has smashed British
box office records, becoming the first film to make over £5m
on its first day of release in this country.
The film, which opened on Bank Holiday Monday (May 31, 2004),
opened in 535 locations, and took a colossal £5.03m, despite
the warm weather.
According to the Screen Daily website, it enjoyed the biggest
opening day and biggest single day takings in UK history - and
is set to emulate that fate, when it opens around the world on
The Prisoner of Azkaban marks a darker direction for the Harry
Potter series, and is directed by the Mexican, Alfonso Cuaron,
who replaced Chris Columbus (now producer).
It was met by almost universal acclaim, and marks one of the
most profitable gambles in recent film history.
The last Potter film, The
Chamber of Secrets, made £2.18m on its first day of
release, which was a Friday, in the run-up to Christmas. It also
faced competition from the second film in the Lord of the Rings
series, The Two Towers,
despite being released a couple of weeks earlier.
This latest film, however, was tactically brought forward to
coincide with the bank holiday, as well as the first day of the
school half-term holidays, and only faced competition from environmental
disaster flick, The Day
Yet, in what proved to be a bumper weekend at the Box Office,
on both sides of the Atlantic, Roland Emmerichs epic also
performed above expectation, taking £7.3m over the whole
This compares favourably with the seasons other blockbusters
thus far, with Van Helsing
making £4.94m in its first three days of release, and Brad
Pitt epic, Troy, amassing £6m
over the same period.
The Day After Tomorrow also chalked up an estimated $85 million
in 110 countries over the weekend, according to Daily Variety,
making it a world-wide hit to boot.
Back in the UK, the main competitors to Harry Potters anticipated
Box Office domination look most likely to be Shrek
2, which has already gone down a storm in America, and Spider-Man
2 - both of which are set for UK debuts in July.