You did not need a crystal ball to predict that “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” would sweep the box office on its debut week; the only question was how much of a share it would take of the summer audiences. The answer is a stunning $79.5 million draw over the weekend and a five-day total of $159.7 million since its July 15 opening, according to estimates by studio trackers Nielsen EDI.

The sixth installment of the wildly popular series based on the novels by J.K. Rowling is directed by David Yates. The story depicts an older Harry facing the impending rise of the evil Lord Voldemort and their ultimate confrontation, which will take place in the seventh and final film. “Half Blood” is being praised by many of the nation’s critics for its deft handling of the beloved story created by Rowling and the superb acting of a mostly British cast, although some say that non-Potter fans may find this installment a bit confusing as well as a darkly told tale.

Meanwhile, the animated family film “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” continued to chug along this weekend, earning $17.7 million and second place. The robotic franchise “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” raked in $13.75, while Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary “Bruno” fell from first to fourth place with an $8.37 million showing. The sleeper hit “The Hangover continues” its word-of-mouth success story, rounding out the top five with $8.31 million.

Final numbers are due later today.

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Box Office Grosses
Week Ending July 19, 2009

Rank Title Weekend Total Gross
1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) $79.5M $160M
2 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) $17.7M $152M
3 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) $13.8M $364M
4 Brüno (2009) $8.37M $49.6M
5 The Hangover (2009) $8.31M $236M
6 The Proposal (2009) $8.29M $128M
7 Public Enemies (2009) $7.59M $79.5M
8 Up (2009) $3.15M $280M
9 My Sister’s Keeper (2009) $2.83M $41.5M
10 I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009) $2.67M $10.3M