July 14, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 from Warner Brothers will open huge at the box office, propelling the weekend up more than 30% over this weekend last year (when Inception and the Nicolas Cage classic The Sorcerer’s Apprentice opened).  Winne the Pooh from Disney will get lost in the shuffle.

Opening at more than 4,200 theaters, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 should average a stunning $34,500 per theater (for $145 million for Friday-Sunday).  Although the last three Potter films have steadily declined (as measured by estimated number of domestic tickets sold), we expect the fans of the series to come out in force for this finale.  Fans who might have drifted away or got in the habit of waiting for the DVD should be back in theaters for this nostalgic event.  Critical reception so far has been universally positive for this series finale, 96% positive at RottenTomatoes. And international business will be robust: the only question is when not if this installment reaches $1 billion worldwide.  Read Mitch Salem’s review of Harry Potter

At about 2,300 theaters, Winnie the Pooh should average a weak $3,900 (for $9 million this weekend).  The G-rated animated film has received widely positive reviews, 82% positive at RottenTomatoes.   


New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
July 15-17                       Positive   Weekend   Total*
Harry Potter Deathly 2   WB  PG13   96%       $145      $355
Winnie the Pooh         Dis  G      82%       $  9      $ 35

HARRY POTTER TRACK                 Open  Domes Est Dom Worldwide
   (millions)           Release    Wknd  Total Tickets Total
Sorcerer’s Stone        Nov 2001   $90   $318   55.9   $975
Chamber of Secrets      Nov 2002   $88   $262   44.9   $879
Prisoner of Azkaban     Jun 2004   $94   $250   40.2   $796
Goblet of Fire          Nov 2005   $103  $290   45.2   $896
Order of the Phoenix    Jul 2007   $77   $292   42.4   $938
Half-Blood Prince       Jul 2009   $78   $302   40.5   $934
Deathly Hallows Part 1  Nov 2010   $125  $295   36.8   $955

Note: Although critic reviews are not related to the size of the opening weekend, they are significantly correlated with the size of the declines in the opening weeks of a movie.
* The Domestic Total is a very early ShowbuzzDaily projection of the total North American gross, based on the Weekend Forecasts.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon will fall to the #2 position in its third weekend, down 52% from last Friday-Sunday. 
Horrible Bosses should be in third place, dropping a decent 40% in weekend two.  Zookeeper should fall a more average 46%        
Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
July 15-17                      vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*
Transformers 3      Par/DW        -52%      $22.5     $385
Horrible Bosses         WB        -40%      $17       $ 97
Zookeeper             Sony        -46%      $11       $ 63

Cars 2                 Dis        -47%      $ 8       $190

Bad Teacher           Sony        -44%      $ 5       $104 
Larry Crowne           Uni        -44%      $ 3.5     $ 39
Super 8                Par        -41%      $ 3       $137
Monte Carlo            Fox        -49%      $ 2       $ 24

Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $181 million total, ranking 3rd of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $171 million, and the year before was $152 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like a big up weekend at $229 million, up more than 30% from this weekend last year.   

This Weekend Last Two Years

 Inception WB PG13 Leonardo DiCaprio Ken Watanabe  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $71  Actual: $63
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $267  Actual: $292
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $533
 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice DIS PG Nicolas Cage Alfred Molina  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $24  Actual: $18
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $67  Actual: $63
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $152
 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince WB PG Daniel Radcliffe   
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $93  Actual: $78
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $303  Actual: $302
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $632
Come back throughout the weekend to see how the movies actually perform.  Saturday morning we will have an early look at how the weekend is shaping up as a whole (based on Friday’s actual numbers), on Sunday we will have initial studio estimates (based on Friday and Saturday), and Monday we will have the final numbers for the entire weekend.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.