WITH THE predictability of the young wizard stealing the Snitch in a triumphant Quidditch match, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone broke box-office records on both sides of the Atlantic over the weekend. In three short days, the much-hyped tale of sorcery managed to recoup a staggering four-fifths of its pounds 105m production budget.
The "magic began" simultaneously in Britain and America on Friday with queues of children lining up to see for themselves Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
During its first screenings, Harry Potter made pounds 16m in Britain and pounds 68m in America - trumping both the dinosaurs and space adventures that had gone before.
The previous three-day record for a film opening in Britain had been held by Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, which took pounds 9.5m in 1999, while the American top spot was held by The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which grossed pounds 51m in 1997.
Alan Horn, Warner Bros president, declared it a "truly historic" moment, with the film opening on almost a quarter of screens in the United States. …