LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Slick Las Vegas crooks swiped Harry Potter's crown this week as a wave of big box office swept "Ocean's Eleven" into the top spot.
The star-powered caper film opened atop the box office, taking in $38.1 million over the weekend for the best December opening ever, according to industry estimates Sunday.
After three weeks at No. 1, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" slipped to second place with $14.7 million. "Behind Enemy Lines" was third with $8 million.
A remake of the 1960 Frank Sinatra "Rat Pack" picture, "Ocean's Eleven" has George Clooney on a mission to steal $150 million from Las Vegas casinos. It was directed by Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic," "Erin Brockovich").
"Ocean's Eleven" was the only major studio release. Nobody wanted to go head-to-head against a movie with a dream cast that also featured Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and Andy Garcia.
The movie played especially well with younger women, said Dan Fellman, president of distribution for Warner Bros. Playing on a hefty 3,075 screens, it still had an enormous per-screen average of $12,393.
"Ocean's Eleven" handily beat the December opening record of $33.6 million set by Mel Gibson's "What Women Want" last year.
But the "Harry Potter" magic still held. Its audience slipped only 37 percent, far less than the 59 percent slide of the previous week, and the movie probably will rebound during the holiday when children are out of school again.
The movie earned $239.7 million in just 24 days.
"Harry Potter" temporarily halted the merry-go-round of No. 1 films, with each blockbuster replacing the last. But that could start again with the Friday opening of "Vanilla Sky," the erotic thriller starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, followed by the much-awaited "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" on Wednesday.
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