Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
July 18, 2011

You were supposed to wear the knickers too, you jerk.

You know what the story is here. And it's not Winnie the Pooh

Kim Hollis: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 shattered the opening weekend box office record with a staggering $169.2 million. In your opinion, what is the most impressive aspect of this result?

Tom Houseman: I think by far the most impressive number is how much HP7-2 made from midnight showings. I can't find a list of the highest midnight showing grosses, but I'm sure this one expelliarmussed the doors off their hinges on that record. I was there at midnight - actually, I got there at 8:15 to make sure I got a decent seat - and the theater was insanely packed. If you split the totals between the midnight showings and everything else HP7-2 made on Friday, the midnight number would be the 14th biggest daily total of all time, and the Friday number would be 12th. That's number would kill a bogart because it is Riddikulus!

Kim Hollis: Tom, that previous midnight number was $30 million, so you are absolutely correct that it blew the midnight record out of the water.

Bruce Hall: When you add in international receipts, this is a monumentally expensive film that appears to have recovered its entire production budget in time for WB execs to party their faces off over it Saturday night. Its not surprising so much as it is fascinating to watch ANYTHING suck up cash at that rate. If the mafia really wants to make money they should stop fixing horse races and make movies. These are incredible numbers.

Brett Beach: I think what is most impressive is the synchronicity of the first and last films setting opening weekend box office records and of the last film grossing in 24 hours what the first film made in three days. Coupled with the jaw-droppingly positive valedictory send-offs from most all critics, WB couldn't ask for a more fitting set-off to the franchise.

Edwin Davies: Everything about this result is pretty astonishing, but it's the international numbers that keep making my head spin. The film came within spitting distance of making half a billion dollars in three days, beating On Stranger Tides' record for worldwide opening by $80 million. That's just staggering to me.

Matthew Huntley: Most impressive for me is how Deathly Hallows Part II was able to gross more in its first day than the first Potter film did in its entire first weekend. Granted, the ticket prices are higher, the theater count is higher, there's 3D surcharges and the overall anticipation was greater, but this is still mind-blowing. We all know the name "Harry Potter" comes with humongous expectations at the box-office, but the fact that the eighth and final installment was able to surpass even the most lofty of them makes it an instant phenomenon. It also begs the question, does it stop here? Could there be another series in the works that follows Harry, Ron and Hermione's children? This weekend's numbers suggest that's not entirely out of the question.

Joshua Pasch: First of all, someone should be giving Tom some kudos for an excellently executed Boggart reference. Well played, sir. Second of all, the accolades for this could go on endlessly. What's not to love about this result? The biggest letdown of the entire weekend is that it didn't become the first movie ever to make $100 million in a day. That's when you know you're dealing with a behemoth that makes other behemoths look less behemoth by comparison.

Jason Lee: There's not much left to be said beyond what's already been noted - from the amazing opening day number to the staggering overseas receipts. The only thing I'll add is that I was (pleasantly) surprised by how few cosplayers I saw at my screening of DH2. Compared to the amount of lightning bolt scars I saw back with Sorcerer's Stone ten years ago, I think this speaks to way that this franchise has reached out and embraced every demographic. This wasn't just a film for fans of the books or children or families or teens or adults. This was an enormous movie event for everyone.

Samuel Hoelker: I agree with Jason. It's what's great about the series too, is its maturation (which, coincidentally, happened during the years where I was supposed to mature as well). Thankfully, the masses haven't shunned what the series has become because "there's no more Quidditch!" "I wanna know who wins the House Cup!" Everything is taken more seriously while staying, well, magical. The most amazing aspect of DH2, and the series in general, is how in tune it became to the average reader.

Reagen Sulewski: Ticket price inflation, 4,000 venue openings and gimmicks like 3D, IMAX and UltraAVX have gradually made most box office achievements kind of hollow and it's nearly impossible to compare things to yesteryear. This isn't to take anything away from Potter, though, and one thing that does impress me is that in earning as much in essentially one screening as the 20th biggest day in box office, it was able to sustain that pace to some degree throughout the weekend, not exhausting the lion's share of its audience in one giant burp of fandom. Next weekend will tell if this three-day period served that same purpose, but for now, this is a triumph of building up an audience and getting them to turn out en masse.

Jim Van Nest: For me the most impressive aspect was that everyone was predicting it to beat the record and it actually did. The Mighty Casey did NOT strike out. And like The Dark Knight before it, it did it with a stellar product that seems to be pleasing everyone who sees it.

Shalimar Sahota: Well I didn't think Potter would actually do it, but I totally underestimated just how strong the midnight screenings would be, something I can see being utilised to maximum effect for more movie franchises in the future. To make near enough $100 million in one day is absolutely unbelievable. However, it also shows just how huge the demand was, as the film did lose a bit of steam on the Saturday and Sunday.

Daron Aldridge: For me, the most impressive aspect of Part 2’s laundry list of accomplishments is the $43 million from late night/midnight. It simply decimated everything that the Twilight series had accomplished for its first day records. That shows the sheer power of Potter.

Max Braden: What impresses me most is that this is the eighth movie in the series and it's topping everything prior to it. There are so very few franchises that can sustain a good story and audience interest to even make a fourth movie, and we usually see a significant drop-off as a series fizzles out. The James Bond series had to change actors and reboot itself. Star Wars went to prequels. Here, not only do you have the continuity of the same group of characters, they've also been able to hold on to the same cast. And on top of that deliver a record-breaking finale. That's pretty amazing despite the noted inflation.

Kim Hollis: What I really think is notable here is that the film has smashed multiple records, and done so pretty handily. It wasn't even close. I also like that Warner Bros. is dancing in the hallways as they realize that since they're in control of The Dark Knight Rises next year, there's a chance they get the record a year from now as well. I was blown away at how busy the theater was over the weekend (I had to drive past it several times). Even on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the parking lot was completely full. People were ready for this communal final experience.

David Mumpower: Out of the first six releases from this franchise, only one broke the $100 million barrier; that was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it earned $102.7 million. For all of the mentions of box office inflation, that movie opened in 2005 and in the five year gap from then until the first Deathly Hallows title, there was a dramatic step backward with regards to the opening weekends of the next two releases, Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. While each of those releases narrowly edged Goblet of Fire in terms of final domestic (and global) take, there wasn't as much of a rush factor with the fifth and six films.

Fast forward to Deathly Hallows and we have seen the two largest debuts for the franchise with the former breaking the previous mark by $22.3 million or 21.7% (!). When the seventh title beats the strongest of the other six prior releases by that much, I am impressed. Now we can factor in that Part 2 has upped that total by a jaw dropping $44.2 million or 35.4% (!!!!!). In only two releases, Harry Potter consumers fundamentally changed their behavior in how they wanted to consume the product. There was a 65% increase from the prior best opening weekend (Goblet of Fire) to the final release. Perhaps the most amazing aspect is that Deathly Hallows Part 2 just earned more on opening weekend than Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince combined.

Taking this in another direction, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone required nine days to reach $169.2 million. The other six titles ranged between seven and 15 days in attaining that amount of domestic revenue; the average for all seven was ten days. Deathly Hallows Part 2 was able to accomplish this a full week quicker than the average Potter movie and four full days quicker than any other had before. That's staggering.