Weekend Wrap-Up

Potter Obliterates Dark Knight Record

By John Hamann

July 17, 2011

Awesomeness defined.

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The Dark Knight be gone. Harry Potter's magical mystery tour opened for the last time this weekend, and muggles showed up in record numbers to take it in. When I say record numbers, I mean it – The Dark Knight's $158.1 million opening weekend record is no more. Neither is Twilight: New Moon's single day record of $72.7 million. Like Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter franchise has its biggest weekend with the final chapter, bringing to a close the most lucrative film franchise is the history of movies. Harry, box office nerds will miss you.

As most of you know by now, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 turned in the biggest late night/midnight screening return ever, as it earned $43.5 million in the late hours of Thursday. Alone, this is a massive accomplishment, as Harry Potter is supposed to skew younger than the Twilight series, yet it took down New Moon's midnight record. We knew that advance ticket sales for this Potter were huge, and that fact led to the biggest single day take in box office history, as combined with those ridiculous midnight numbers, The Deathly Hallows Part 2 took in $48.6 million over its regular Friday, but combined with the midnight sales, that single day became an astounding $92.1 million. That absolutely shattered the single day record held by Twilight: New Moon at $72.7 million, busting it by 27%. Think about that. When New Moon became the biggest single day earner, it did it by only 6%, as it beat Twilight: Eclipse by only $5 million. Potter bested New Moon by almost $20 million over one day. That, my friends, is freakishly impressive.


Potter's opening day for The Deathly Hallows Part 2 beat The Deathly Hallows Part 1 by $31 million. I've been writing this column a long time, and this reminds me of the weekend when Spider-Man opened to $114.8 million. This is the day I've been waiting for, and somehow it snuck up on me. I didn't think this Potter would be this big.

After that completely impressive midnight and first day showing, the question was all about momentum. Could The Deathly Hallows Part 2 manage to continue the torrid pace throughout the weekend? Looking at Part 1 might shed some clues on a weekend multiplier if we break its gross apart. Part 1 had midnight showings that amounted to $24.1 million, a first day of $61.7 million, and a weekend gross of $125 million. A proper first day is calculated by taking that $61.7 million, and subtracting the midnight showings at $24.1 million, giving us a "true" Friday of $37.6 million. To get the Part 1 multiplier, we subtract the midnight amount from the total ($125 million - $24.1 million) giving us $100.9 million. Divide the $37.6 million true Friday figure into adjusted weekend total, and we get a weekend multiplier of 2.68.

It could be argued that the multiplier for the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will be lower due to the law of fanboy box office, as mad fans soak the film up during the earlier portion of the weekend, thus affecting the multiplier, however we will use a 2.68 and see how it works out. Deathly Hallows Part 2 took in $92.1 overall on Friday, but we subtract the midnight showings at $43.5 million, and add the multiplier. Our formula now looks like this:

$92.1 million -$43.5 million = $48.6 million * 2.68 = $130.25 million + $43.5 million = $173.75 million

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