Box Office: Harry Potter Casts the Record Breaker Spell

The Reject ReportSo now Harry Potter’s patronus is in the shape of a giant dump truck loaded with million dollar bills. Is there such a thing as a million dollar bill? There probably should be. And while you’re at it, go ahead and put Alan Rickman’s face on it. In J.K. Rowling we trust. Okay, I’m done with all that.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2, the last film of the 10-year series, has demolished all kinds of box office records. After breaking advance day records with $32m in tickets sales, it went on to make $43.5m in midnight showings. It wasn’t a shock to anyone when the Friday numbers came in and Deathly Hallows 2 had beaten The Twilight Saga: New Moon‘s $72.7m opening day with its own $92.1m. But the young wizard wasn’t done there. No, satisfaction was not met at the defeat of New Moon, though we’re all pretty thankful for it. Deathly Hallows 2, and probably Warners had something to do with it, too, had its eyes set on that opening weekend. Another Warners film, The Dark Knight, was holding the #1 weekend slot for three years with its $158.4m three-day take. Now that Sunday’s numbers have come out, Deathly Hallows 2 has pretty much swept the floor with that record, too.

$168.5m, the biggest opening in box office history. But what does that really mean for the overall box office of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2? You would think with an opening like that it would be a shoe-in for $400 million domestic easy. But history hasn’t always been kind to these record holders. Spider-Man 3 broke the three-day record in 2007 with $151.1m, but it topped out at $336.5m domestic. Sure, it made another $554.5m in foreign markets, which, coupled with the fact that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has made over a billion dollars thanks mostly to foreign territories, is having me question the world’s taste. The previous single day winner, New Moon, ended up only bringing in $296.6m in domestic sales. So a monster hit isn’t a guarantee for record breakers like Deathly Hallows 2. Of course, the $157.5m it’s already made outside the US will help tremendously.

Plus, this is Harry Potter we’re talking about. It seems like nothing is going to slow this Hogwarts Express from continuing to shatter records. Next stop: fastest to $300m. It has 7 more days to do it faster than The Dark Knight. In fact, it’s surprising to see that only two Harry Potter films, Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001 and last year’s Deathly Hallows 1, brought in over $300m domestic. It’s a foregone conclusion Deathly Hallows 2 will end up being the highest grossing Harry Potter film overall. It would also surprise everyone if it doesn’t end up being the highest grossing film of 2011.

A lot of other movies that weren’t part of the Harry Potter franchise made a whole lot of money this weekend. When you’re dealing with the Transformers franchise and a director as hated as Michael Bay, any weekend drop less than 60% is considered a victory. Of course Bay’s place at #1 for 2011 may be short-lived. Poor Winnie the Pooh and its sad $8m. Sad face for Winnie the Pooh, everyone. Midnight in Paris continues to eek its way onto the top 10 charts, and it has beaten Hannah and Her Sisters to become Woody Allen’s highest grossing film to date. 46th time’s the charm.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $168.5m NEW
  2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $21.2m (-54.9%) $302.8m total
  3. Horrible Bosses -$17.6m (-37.7%) $60m total
  4. Zookeeper – $12.3m (-38.7%) $42.3m total
  5. Cars 2 – $8.3m (-45.1%) $165.3m total
  6. Winnie the Pooh – $8m NEW
  7. Bad Teacher – $5.2m (-41.7%) $88.5m total
  8. Larry Crowne – $2.5m (-56.7%) $31.6m total
  9. Super 8 – $1.9m (-60.2%) $122.2m total
  10. Midnight in Paris – $1.8m (-28.2%) $41.7m total

Let this number sink in a bit. $247.3m. That’s how much the top 10 pulled in this weekend. There was no way the weekend wasn’t going to top $200m, but even by Harry Potter weekend standards, that’s an impressive amount. That makes this the biggest weekend since Christmas weekend 2009 when Avatar and Sherlock Holmes were showing The Squeakquel how it’s done.

Something tells me next weekend is going to be down a bit. Maybe not too much, though. Deathly Hallows 2‘s second weekend is going to be much bigger than most film’s first weekend. Also the blockbuster machine isn’t going to let us rest. Captain America: The First Avenger hits theaters, and it could very well give Deathly Hallows 2 a run for that #1.

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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