July 16, 2011

Box Office Footnotes – 7/15/11 – Harry Potter Edition


Now that HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (PART 2) has obliterated the single-day US boxoffice record, and is poised to have the all-time US weekend, what other records lie ahead?  The all-time Saturday is held by Spiderman 3, with $51.3M.  If Harry can stay under a 45% drop today, it’ll surpass that one too.  The Sunday record belongs to The Dark Knight, with $43.6M–that one may be tougher, since Dark Knight dropped only 8% from Saturday to Sunday… but at this point, nothing can be ruled out. 

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter has Harry‘s Friday overseas number at $75M, meaning that including its Wednesday and Thursday openings in some territories, it’s already at $157.5M, with a global total through Friday of $250M.  It seems a good bet to take the all-time worldwide opening, a record currently held by its stablemate Half-Blood Prince with $394M. 
The real question, of course, is how front-loaded all this will be.  Despite that record opening, Half-Blood Prince made “only” $933M in the end, so 42% of its total boxoffice was earned in its first 3 days.  Deathly Hallows 2 seems likely to do better than that, with great word of mouth (its 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating–100% from “Top Critics”–make it the best-reviewed wide release of the year), but this story will play out over the coming weeks.  The good thing about a mid-July opening is that a strong title can play all the way through Labor Day with limited competition, something that’s worked well for Warners with both Dark Knight and Inception.  
Meanwhile, if Warners is–by far–the happiest studio in town, the least happy is Paramount.  Not only did Harry badly dent Transformers 3 yesterday (it probably took the biggest hit in terms of losing prime multiplex placement and 3D theatres), but they have the next action movie up to the plate, Friday’s CAPTAIN AMERICA.  Even if Harry goes down 60% next weekend–which it well might–the Captain will still be facing $60M+ in competition, and have a hard time getting the best auditoriums and sufficient 3D.  (The likable Friends With Benefits, also opening next week, won’t be affected so much, since it’s classic romantic comedy counterprogramming.)
There are, believe it or not, other movies playing this weekend.  Woody Allen’s MIDNIGHT IN PARIS officially became the most successful film (not adjusted for inflation) of his 42-year US filmmaking career, with $40.4M earned and more to come.  In limited release, SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN will struggle to reach $5K per theatre in 24, with LIFE, ABOVE ALL and the dreadful SALVATION BLVD not even reaching half that much in only 5 houses each.  The Sarah Palin “documentary” UNDEFEATED, though, may reach $10K in each of 28 very carefully chosen theatres.  
Stay with SHOWBUZZDAILY all weekend as the Harry Potter juggernaut keeps rolling.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."