July 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Box Office Footnotes – 7/17/11

More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Despite the enormous 53% drop on Saturday, Warners is projecting only a 21% fall for HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (PART 2) on Sunday, which would be 2nd lowest in the week’s Top 10, behind only Disney’s WINNIE THE POOH (which figures to be strong in Sunday matinees).  If the Harry Potter number slips, the weekend could fall a bit–but still be more than enough to retain the All-Time Best Opening Weekend crown, since right now it has a $10M edge over The Dark Knight and its $158M opening.

The All-Time title is worldwide, as well:  Warners is estimating  an overseas opening total of $307M (beating Pirates 4 and its $260M), and a global opening total of $476M, which handily defeats Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at $394M.  Only 8 movies have ever made over $1 billion worldwide–none of them from the Harry Potter series–and Deathly Hallows Part 2 should make it 9.  
(That sound you hear is the studio begging J.K. Rowling just to consider the possibility of a sequel, spinoff, prequel–anything.)  
As expected, Transformers 3 took the biggest hit from Harry Potter‘s arrival, with more than 50% declines both domestically and overseas.  In the US, that’s a far sharper fall than the 43-45% drops the other Transformers had in their 3rd weekends.  Although the picture now has around $763M after only 3 weeks (and is already ahead of its 2 predecessors internationally), its own chances of getting to the magic $1 billion number seem to be fading.
The other movies in the Top 10 (aside from the collapsing Larry Crowne and Super 8, which lost a lot of theatres after 6 weeks) weren’t so damaged by the Potter deluge.  That includes Horrible Bosses and the truly horrible Zookeeper, which had modest 38-39% declines in their second weekends.  
In limited release, both A Better Life and Beats, Rhyme and Life tried expanding, and took corresponding hits in their per-theatre numbers, dropping to a sad $1500 for Better and $6500 for Beats (which is still in only 22 houses).  Erroll Morris’ odd documentary Tabloid had the best limited opening with a decent $7200 in each of 14 theatres, while Wayne Wang’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan managed only $5700 in each of 24.  The excellent–but hard to watch–documentary Project Nim could only scrape up $1900 in each of 22 despite rave reviews.  And the Voldemort–sorry, Sarah Palin–documentary Undefeated turned out to be as front-loaded as Harry Potter; what looked like a $10K per theatre average at 10 horcruxes on Friday fell to only $6500 when the whole weekend was counted.

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."