International box office numbers are starting to pour in once again after months of a near-global shutdown for the theatrical movie business. China, specifically, has seen solid business as older movies have been re-released in the country to help draw in customers. Leading the way this weekend was a re-release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first entry in the hugely popular franchise. Now, thanks to a big weekend, the movie is dangerously close to breaking a massive record nearly 20 years after its original release.
In China, the 4K and 3D re-release of the 2001 movie brought in $13.6 million While it was projected to earn around $15 million heading into the weekend, it is still the biggest opening for any movie in the country since theaters reopened about a month ago. What’s more, $2.1 million of the total was from IMAX screens. With the new money factored in, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone now stands at $991 million worldwide. It needs just $9 million to join the highly-coveted $1 billion club. Given that further re-releases are likely to follow in other countries as the exhibition business gets back on its feet, that seems extremely likely, if not a foregone conclusion.
Should the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s novel manage to pass the $1 billion mark, it will become just the second entry in the franchise to do so. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 closed out the series with a truly massive $1.34 billion back in 2011. Including the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs, the Wizard World has earned more than $9.2 billion at the box office worldwide for Warner Bros. since its inception, making it one of the most successful in cinema history.
Only two other movies have joined the $1 billion club in the past thanks to reissues. The first to do so was George Lucas’ Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which originally hit theaters in 1999 and was released again in 2012, earning enough to push it over the edge. A year later, Jurassic Park was re-released by Universal Pictures in honor of its 20th anniversary, allowing it to pass the $1 billion mark as well. Director Chris Columbus’ 2001 fantasy flick, which introduced the world to Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, seems poised to join that group in the near future.
Many theaters around the world will be relying on tried and true classics to drum up box office business in the coming weeks and months as there will be few new movies that can draw in moviegoers. Recently, Disney opted to release Mulan on Disney+, forgoing a theatrical release, given the uncertainty surrounding theater openings in the U.S. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is rolling out internationally, with a slower rollout in the U.S., while The New Mutants is finally going to be hitting theaters next week, unless something changes. This news was previously reported by Forbes.