Weekend Wrap-Up

Potter Roasts Box Office Over Turkey Frame

By John Hamann

November 28, 2010

He's gonna hate it when she cuts her hair short.

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After opening to $125 million a weekend ago, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a mortal lock to win the lucrative Thanksgiving session. The question was by how much. A good hold versus last weekend had some things working for it (the long weekend) and some things working against it (versus a film that did $24 million in midnight screenings). Potter also had Disney's new and very expensive Tangled to contend with, but I don't think the one robbed the other too much. Roadkill this weekend included Burlesque with Cher and Christina, Faster with Dwayne Johnson, and Love and Other Drugs with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, as the kids were kings at the box office over the five day frame this weekend.

Last year was wild at the box office, with The Twilight Saga: New Moon on the way out in a big way (-70%), while the Blind Side (+18%) and A Christmas Carol (+28%) came back up. This year is different – the "hallowed" holdover held fairly, and while Tangled was fantastic, three other openers struggled. Like a Thanksgiving tradition, films aimed at families and the younger set dominated, and the rest pretty much failed.

The number one film of the weekend - but not by much - is Part One of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Potter 7 grossed $50.3 million over the three-day portion of the long weekend, and $76.3 million over the five-day span. It dropped 60%, and earned a $12,205 venue average from 4,125 screens. Harry and Friends crossed the $200 million mark on Saturday, only its ninth day of release.


The Deathly Hallows dominated the entire Thanksgiving session. On Wednesday, the Warner Bros. super-flick earned $14.4 million, a 41% increase over an equally busy Tuesday when the film earned $10.3 million. Interestingly, Potter 7 has been about $2 million ahead of Harry Potter and the Goblet Fire, which opened on the same date in 2005. Goblet of Fire's Tuesday before Thanksgiving number was $9 million, and the Wednesday was $14.1 million – very close to Deathly Hallows $14.4 million, and a sign this one could be losing steam. The Thursday tally was $11.5 million for Hallows, behind that of Goblet of Fire, which earned $12.4 million. Goblet may have earned more on Thursday, but the overall difference was still large. Up to Thursday, Goblet had earned $146.2 million, where Deathly Hallows had accumulated about $170 million, a difference of $24 million – exactly the total of the midnight screenings last week.

Potter earned $23 million on Friday, about even with 2005's Goblet of Fire. It crossed the $200 million mark on Saturday and ties the nine-day mark for the third fastest film to reach that mark. It joins box office heavyweights like Toy Story 3, Twilight: Eclipse, Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as the only films to earn $200 million in nine days. It took both Goblet of Fire and The Half-Blood Prince ten days to reach the same mark. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has a total box office now of $220.4 million. It is still on track to become the biggest Potter film ever, at least on the domestic front.

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