UPDATED: Weekend Estimates: 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'

Featured Stories - on July 19, 2009 by Phil Contrino

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has grossed nearly $160 million domestically since opening.

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Sunday Morning Update (8:05 a.m. PT): According to Warner Bros., Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was able to gross an estimated $79.5 million this weekend. The film's domestic haul is now $159.6 million.

Saturday Morning Update (7:50 a.m. PT): According to Warner Bros., Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince grossed $26.8 million on Friday, pushing its domestic haul to an estimated $107 million since opening on Wednesday.

Friday Afternoon Update (3:21 p.m. PT): For Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 's Thursday haul, check out our numbers page .

Thursday Afternoon Update (6:21 p.m. PT): Variety is now reporting that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has crossed the $100 million mark worldwide.

Thursday Afternoon Update (3:55 p.m.): The official opening day number for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is an impressive $58.175 million, which means expectations are still very high heading into the weekend. Considering the strong reaction HP6 is receiving, die-hard fans may be game for a second helping sooner than expected.

Based on lackluster word of mouth, Brüno should suffer a sharp decline after topping the box office last weekend. The film will have none of the staying power that its predecessor, 2006's Borat, did.

Check out our final top 10 predictions in the table below.

Weekend Predictions: July 17 to July 19, 2009
Title Gross (M) Cume (M) Locations Inc./Dec.
1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $92.0 $174.0 4,325 +50
2 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs $16.5 $150.8 3,817 -285
3 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $14.0 $364.2 3,857 -436
4 Brüno $10.8 $52.3 2,759 +3
5 The Proposal $7.5 $127.3 3,043 +123
6 The Hangover $7.1 $234.5 2,667 0
7 Public Enemies $7.0 $79.1 3,121 0
8 UP $3.0 $273.4 1,706 +20
9 My Sister's Keeper $2.7 $41.5 2,444 -162
10 I Love You, Beth Cooper $2.3 $9.9 1,872 +14

Thursday Morning Update (8:39 a.m.): The official studio estimate for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Wednesday is a staggering $58.4 million, which includes midnight showings.

Wednesday Afternoon Update: Now that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is tapering off, there's room for a new blockbuster. Enter Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The Warner Bros. release made a staggering $22.2 million from midnight and early morning showings, which means that the wizard flick broke the previous record of $18 million set by The Dark Knight —another Warner Bros. release—last July.

Critical reactions to HP6 have been incredibly strong. B OXOFFICE's Pete Hammond wrote that, "...for pure fun, adventure, romance and thrills this is clearly going to be the movie to raise the bar for this summer’s blockbusters." The film currently boasts an impressive 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Mainstream audience reactions are just as strong. HP6 has snagged a solid 91% approval rating on Flixster, an online movie community with 20 million unique users per month.

"Audiences are clearly loving what they're seeing," says John Singh, a spokesperson for Flixster. "And the interest is continuing—right now, Flixster searches for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are more than three times the number of searches for the next three films combined."

Half-Blood Prince led to strong online ticket sales as die-hard fans avoided sold-out shows and long lines. HP6 is behind only Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on the all-time advance sales lists at Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com.

Playing at 4,725 locations, Half-Blood Prince is on pace for an impressive debut. As it stands now, the film could bring in as much as $180 million by the time Sunday is over, and $95 million of that haul may come during the Friday to Sunday time period. If Wednesday's grosses are stronger than expected, predictions for the weekend will experience a boost. Based on HP6 's potential during its first five days of release, it looks as though it will become the Potter movie with the largest domestic haul. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first film in the series, still holds that title with an impressive $317.6 million domestic haul—$403.6 when adjusted for inflation.

One of the best reviewed independent films of the year will be released on Friday. Fox Searchlight's romantic dramedy (500) Days of Summer currently holds a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it will be landing at 27 locations. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, two up-and-coming actors poised to become bigger box office draws. Summer will appeal to hip, 20-something audiences who have long outgrown the fairy tale world of Harry Potter, and it will be propelled forward by positive word of mouth. Look for Summer to build a healthy following in the weeks and months to come.

Check back tomorrow for our top 10 predictions as well as official location counts.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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