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In China, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ hits box office gold anew

/ 03:07 PM August 18, 2020
20200818 China cinemas reopen

People watch a movie as they sit separately for social distancing at a cinema in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on July 20, 2020, on the first day that cinemas reopened after closure caused by the COVID-19. Most Chinese cinemas reopened this week with social distancing rules following months of coronavirus closures. Image: STR/AFP/China Out

Almost 19 years after its original release in movie theaters, the first film based on the famous book series by J.K. Rowling is in the process of becoming the second one in the franchise to reach a billion dollars in box office takings after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”.

It is an accomplishment that is comforting industry players in the midst of the global health crisis, although the box office figures remain far lower than those of last year.

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In order to attract cinema-goers back into theaters, the Asian market has been focusing on “safe bets” like the first work in the “Harry Potter” saga.

And it appears to be working for the cinemas and for Warner Bros. as the first title, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (known in the United Kingdom as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”), available in 3D and 4K, has accumulated 13.6 million dollars (approx. P660.6 million) in additional box office receipts. This feat was reached in just three days across 16,000 screens, including 2.1 million dollars (approx. P102 million) from 594 IMAX screens, Deadline reports.

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The success of the Christopher Columbus-directed film helped the Chinese box office achieve its best weekend since the country’s cinemas reopened, with a total take of 21.9 million dollars (approx. P1 billion), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Inception” and “Tenet” coming soon

Cinemas in China reopened their doors to the public four weeks ago, following the lockdown decrees rolled out in January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A sluggish recovery for an industry that has been struggling since the health crisis began, as overall numbers show a year-on-year decline of 92.8%, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Theaters still have to address a slew of health safety measures that are still in place, such as a limited number of screenings, physical distancing, as well as the fear of returning to an enclosed space for some spectators.

First released in 2001, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is in the process of becoming the second film in the saga to reach a billion dollars in box office sales thanks to a big-screen re-release. The fantasy film currently has a total of more than 975 million dollars (approx. P47 billion) in box office sales worldwide.

The first “Harry Potter” film is not the only movie to be drawing crowds as a re-release as Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” also garnered 1.3 million dollars more (approx. P63.1 million) at the box office in China, which is a good indication for the box office sales of the filmmaker’s upcoming movie, “Tenet”, set for release in China on Sept. 4, and for the re-release of “Inception” on Aug. 28. CC

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Long wait over for China’s ‘Harry Potter’ fans

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TAGS: China, covid-19, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros.
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