A boy wizard and a country-music legend outclassed a flurry of box-office newcomers over Thanksgiving. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" took in $54.9 million over the three-day weekend to remain the top movie, while the Johnny Cash film biography "Walk the Line" stayed in second place with $19.7 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.
For the whole five-day Thanksgiving period, "Goblet of Fire" grossed $81.3 million to lift its 10-day total to $201.1 million, while "Walk the Line" took in $27.6 million, raising its 10-day total to $54.7 million.
The two films paced Hollywood to a healthy holiday weekend. If estimates hold when final numbers are released Monday, it would be the second-highest gross ever for the five-day Thanksgiving period at $218.3 million, beating last year's haul by 3 percent but finishing behind 2000's record $232.1 million.
That was a boost for the slumping movie business, which has had attendance running 8 percent behind last year's.
"You've got to look at 'Harry Potter' as being the savior of the box office right now," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "Who would have thought in a year we're having this down box office that we'd have the second-biggest Thanksgiving ever?"
Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo's family flick "Yours, Mine & Ours" overcame bad reviews to lead the new movies, finishing third with $17.5 million. The movie's five-day total since opening Wednesday was $24.5 million.
The animated tale "Chicken Little" held up strongly at No. 4 with $12.4 million, lifting its four-week total to $118.2 million.
"Rent," featuring Taye Diggs and Rosario Dawson in an adaptation of the Broadway musical sensation, debuted in fifth with a three-day total of $10.7 million and $18.1 million since opening Wednesday.
Premiering at No. 6 was Ryan Reynolds' romantic comedy "Just Friends" with $9.3 million from Friday to Sunday and $13.6 million since Wednesday.
R&B singer Usher's first starring role with the mob romance "In the Mix" opened at No. 9 with $4.5 million for the weekend and $6.2 million since Wednesday. John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton's crime caper "The Ice Harvest" debuted at No. 10 with $3.7 million Friday to Sunday and $5.1 million since Wednesday.
"Goblet of Fire" shot past $200 million domestically in just 10 days, the fastest of the four "Harry Potter" movies to cross that mark. The fastest-grossing of the previous movies was the first, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," which took in $186 million in 10 days.
"Goblet of Fire" could be on track to beat the $317.6 million domestic gross of "Sorcerer's Stone," the franchise's most successful installment.
"Goblet of Fire" has disproved speculation that its PG-13 rating — the first of the franchise to carry that tag, after PG ratings for the first three — might hurt the film by scaring off younger fans.
"We've learned the audience has grown older with the movies, so the PG-13 rating just played into the core of the audience," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., which releases the "Harry Potter" films.
Warner Bros. also had terrific results for its limited-release debut of "Syriana," whose ensemble cast includes George Clooney and Matt Damon in a thriller centered on the oil industry. The film took in a whopping $372,147 in five theaters over the weekend and $553,372 since Wednesday. "Syriana" goes into nationwide release Dec. 9.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," $54.9 million.
2. "Walk the Line," $19.7 million.
3. "Yours, Mine & Ours," $17.5 million.
4. "Chicken Little," $12.4 million.
5. "Rent," $10.7 million.
6. "Just Friends," $9.3 million.
7. "Pride & Prejudice," $7 million.
8. "Derailed," $4.7 million.
9. "In the Mix," $4.5 million.
10. "The Ice Harvest," $3.7 million.