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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Harry Potter led the worldwide box office for a second weekend on Sunday, but the heroic boy wizard had a close shave with a hairy princess in North America.
The seventh movie in the hit franchise, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," sold $163.5 million worth of tickets globally, led by a $50.3 million haul in the United States and Canada, distributor Warner Bros. said.
Of the 62 foreign markets, the best score came from France, where the film opened at No. 1 with $19.1 million -- the country's best start of the year. After two weekends the worldwide total stands at about $610 million.
But the fearless schoolboy almost lost his North American crown to Rapunzel, the hirsute heroine in the new Walt Disney Co 3D cartoon "Tangled." The fairy tale earned $49.1 million for the three days, far exceeding industry forecasts.
Along with three other films, "Tangled" opened on Wednesday, one day ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday, giving it a five-day total of $69 million. Pundits had forecast a five-day haul of about $40 million.
Disney distribution president Chuck Viane said the film played strongly with families, and many little girls dressed up as princesses for the occasion.
Internationally, "Tangled" earned $13.8 million after opening at No. 1 in six of seven markets. Russia led the way with $7.5 million, a record for a Disney cartoon. It adds eight markets next weekend, including France and Italy. Pop singer/actress Mandy Moore voices the heroine.
The other three new releases all performed to the expectations of their respective studios.
"Burlesque," a musical starring Cher and Christina Aguilera, shared the No. 4 spot with the three-week-old action movie "Unstoppable," each reporting about $11.8 million for the three-day period.
The $55 million musical will be "a real moneymaker," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony Corp's Sony Pictures, which released the film through its Screen Gems division.
Women accounted for 69 percent of the audience, and 54 percent of moviegoers were aged 25 or older. But Bruer said the men who went along enjoyed it.
"Love and Other Drugs," a $30 million romantic comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, followed at No. 6 with $9.9 million. Even though Hathaway has a much-discussed nude scene, the film also played mostly to older women, said News Corp-owned 20th Century Fox.
Male youngsters got their fix with "Faster," an action thriller starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The film drove in at No. 7 with $8.7 million. It was distributed in North America by CBS Corp's CBS Films, which split the $24 million production tab with international rights holder Sony.
The five-day total for "Burlesque" stands at $17.2 million, for "Love and Other Drugs" at $14 million, and for "Faster" at $12.2 million. Both "Love" and "Burlesque" will begin their international rollouts just before Christmas.
The new "Harry Potter" film is off to the strongest start in the series, having earned $220.4 million in North America since opening November 19. The previous film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," had earned $201 million during the same 10-day span in July 2009. That film ended up with $302 million domestically, and Time Warner Inc-owned Warner Bros. was similarly confident the new film would break $300 million.
The foreign total stands at $389.2 million. Top markets include Britain with $53.5 million, Germany with $37 million, Japan with $35 million, and Australia with $25 million.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Mohammad Zargham