July 2009 Forecast
By David Mumpower
July 3, 2009
1) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
When does a $655 million expenditure bring a revenue return of $4.5 billion? When Jerry Jones buys the Dallas Cowboys. Also, the Harry Potter franchise qualifies. Folks, if you are getting $7 back for every dollar you spend, you're doing just fine. It's like you have own Xerox machine that the kind (?) folks at the IRS don't know works on money. This is exactly the box office landscape Warner Bros. has cultivated over the past decade, starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone's $90.3 million opening weekend. So successful have the five releases been that the WORST box office performance domestically is $250 million. That is tantamount to the 50th most successful domestic release ever being the ugly duckling of the Harry Potter family. The answer is Prisoner of Azkaban if you were wondering which tiny duck needs Botox and a boob job.
What is noteworthy here is that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the first title to be released since the conclusion of the series was released in handy book form. With all the fates revealed, the movie franchise has both a hurdle to clear and a lot of momentum in its favor. People can see the finish line from here, even if there will be one more movie than there was a book in the series. With three films left and a lot of ground to cover, we are finished with the filler nonsense (i.e. Dolores Umbridge). It's all plot and action from here. This is good news not just for the fans but also for the bean counters at Warner Bros. The next three films all seem likely to earn $300 million, something only Sorcerer's Stone has done to date (although Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix were both within $10 million). I had thought at one point that $300 million would be enough to win the summer, but Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has pretty much torched that idea. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is playing for second place this season, barring something unforeseen and unprecedented for the series. In terms of overall success, this one is all but assured and the only question is the degree of huge-osity (I'm making up words now...deal with it) it manages.
2) Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
I have already discussed two of the top five films of July in this week's forecast. Suffice it to say that the highlight here is obvious. The first two Ice Age films have earned over a billion dollars worldwide. Almost two thirds of that came from the last one. And now there is an Ice Age release featuring dinosaurs that will get that oh-so-wonderful 3-D ticket revenue to boot. There is much to like here. Wednesday's box office of $13.8 million is even about 15% higher than I had forecasted for this surefire blockbuster, meaning this one is in great shape.