Harry Potter's £43m makes it top box office hit

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The Independent Culture

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the most successful film of 2005. The latest instalment of the teenage wizard's adventures made £43m at the box office, £4m more than Star Wars: Episode III, according to figures compiled by Screen International.

But the fourth film based on the novels by J K Rowling has not quite reached the success of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which made £46m last year.

Starring a 16-year-old Daniel Radcliffe as Harry and Emma Watson as an adolescent Hermione, the actors' spell over the country has continued through their teenage years.

Worldwide takings from the film topped $400m (£230m) by the end of November, with the film taking an estimated $201m in the US in its first 10 days of release. An estimated 40 per cent of its audience consists of adults unaccompanied by children.

Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the third most popular film, taking £37.3m, with the Wallace and Gromit film Curse of the Were-Rabbit fourth at £31.8m.

King Kong is currently in 19th place, but will climb the chart by the end of the year. It hit the top of the UK box office chart last Sunday after its first weekend of release, knocking The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe into second. But the Peter Jackson-directed remake of the 1933 film took £6m during the weekend, compared to the £14.9m Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire made during its opening weekend at the cinema.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was ranked the eighth most successful film, but is expected to climb the charts over Christmas. Controversy over the film, which has been heavily promoted to a Christian clientele, has not put off the more mainstream audiences.

"I would expect to see Narnia in the top five and Kong in the Top 10 by year's end," Robert Mitchell, Screen International's chief box-office analyst, said.

The only wholly British film to reach the Top 10 - ranking tenth - is Nanny McPhee. The film, which took £16.3m, stars Emma Thompson as a magical governess.

The Anglo-American co-productions Pride and Prejudice and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are at 12 and 18 respectively in the rankings.

UIP, the distributor of King Kong, has had a successful year, with combined takings from its seven Top 20 titles looking certain to exceed £155m by the end of 2005.

In contrast, Sony Pictures has one title in the Top 10, Hitch, with Will Smith. It reached the charts at nine in this year's box office with takings of £17.3m.

Last year's box-office champion was Shrek 2, which made £48m in 2004.

The top 10

* Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (£43m)

* Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (£39.3m)

* Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (£37.3m)

* Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (£31.8m)

* War of the Worlds (£30.5m)

* Meet the Fockers (£28.6m)

* Madagascar (£22.6m)

* The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (£20.5m)

* Hitch (£17.3m)

* Nanny McPhee (£16.3m)

Source: Screen International. *Figures correct to 21 December

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