Box office preview: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' would like your attention

Deathly-Hallows-Part-1Image Credit: Jaap BuitendijkLet’s get straight to it: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 will make a massive amount of money this weekend. We’re talking about a franchise that has accumulated $5.4 billion worldwide, is based on a book series that’s sold more copies than there are people in America, has spawned its own theme park, and has turned innumerable young adults into this. Even if you have no intention of seeing Deathly Hallows, it will one day track you down like a Dementor and pry your eyelids open as if you were Malcolm McDowell. And the box office is due for a huge weekend — there hasn’t been a behemoth opening weekend since June, when Toy Story 3 collected $110.3 million. (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which debuted on a Wednesday, grossed $157.6 million its first five days). So the tricky question for Deathly Hallows is: “How much, exactly?” The movie, which is the seventh in the series, could conceivably earn anywhere from $100 million to $160 million this weekend. In such situations, I find it best to take the middle path, hence my prediction:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1: $130 million

Ready for some numbers? As I write this, Fandango is reporting that more than 3,000 showtimes across the country have already sold out, and that Deathly Hallows has sold more advance tickets than any other Harry Potter movie (and the third most advance tickets ever, behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse). Deathly Hallows opens at midnight tonight at about 3,700 theaters, many of which are playing the film on multiple screens and adding showings as late as 3:15 a.m. And the movie will play on 239 IMAX screens domestically — by far the most in IMAX history.

As far as comparing Deathly Hallows to other Harry Potter flicks, we should examine 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which also opened in November and, more importantly, on a Friday. Goblet grossed $102.7 million its first weekend, and Deathly Hallows should easily squash that amount thanks to an increase in ticket prices, additional IMAX theaters, and the fact that this is the series’ final entry — well, part one of its final entry. Due to the Thursday midnight screenings, Deathly Hallows will also tally a truly enchanting Friday figure and then witness a sizable drop on Saturday. With that in mind, could Deathly Hallows break the opening-day record of $72.7 million currently held by The Twilight Saga: New Moon? It’s possible, but I think Potter will fly a bit short of that number.

2. Megamind: $17 million

The animated comedy will continue to attract families with children who are too young to see the PG-13 Deathly Hallows, so expect a mild drop of about 42 percent.

3. Unstoppable: $13 million

The Denzel Washington runaway-train thriller, which has topped the charts during the workweek, will serve as excellent counter-programming for the adults who have somehow managed to deflect Harry Potter‘s charms. Like Megamind, the Tony Scott film should slip around 42 percent.

4. The Next Three Days: $11 million

Oh, right, there’s another new wide release this weekend. The PG-13 thriller stars Russell Crowe as a professor determined to break his wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of prison. The $30 million film, directed by Oscar-winner Paul Haggis (Crash), has garnered mediocre reviews, but Crowe is a dependable, if not giant, box-office draw. During the next three days, The Next Three Days is likely to follow in the footsteps of State of Play and Body of Lies, which debuted to $14.1 million and $12.9 million, respectively.

5. Due Date: $8 million

The R-rated comedy, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, fell 53 percent its second weekend. It should hold up a little better this weekend — let’s say a drop of just under 50 percent and call it a day.

FRIDAY UPDATE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 pulls in $24 million at midnight shows

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • Kate

    Sounds about right. I’m calling anywhere from $125 million-$145 million.
    And I’m not fussed about midnight and single-day records, as long as it beats both Twilight films in the end (neither New Moon nor Eclipse, despite their early success, managed to beat Half-Blood Prince overall domestically, and fell WAY short globally).

  • Thom

    Yeah, it won’t top New Moon’s opening day record.

    Potter fans aren’t all 12 to 19 year old girls. They have other things to do than see the same movie over and over again all day.

    • Lizi


      • Nick T

        I’m in college and I just saw it in a theater packed with college students who all plan on seeing it again. (When i say theater, I mean every screen being full)

      • @Nick T

        Same here. All college students. There were over 3000 people there. The line was wrapped around the building. We didn’t even get to start the movie until 1am, because they had to get everyone in the theater.

      • JBD

        Same exact thing. I live in a college town where there are only two movie theaters, and both theaters had EVERY screen jammed packed and sold out. I’ll probably be going again soon. It was fantastic.

      • Cult of Personality

        I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal with college kids? Isn’t this a children’s book series? This is scary if our nation’s college kid’s prefer books written on a 4th grade level.

      • SC

        @Cult of Personality: I’m guessing you haven’t read the harry potter books – second: the people that are now in college have grown up with the series – I for one am 18, and harry potter has been most of my childhood/adolescence.

      • Amanda

        You have to consider when the books came out. Most of them came out when the people who are now in college were younger, that’s why it has so big a following with that age group. Consider that the first book came out 13 years ago, and you will discover that the people in college now were 7-ish when it all started.

      • Cult of Personality

        @SC & Amanda,

        I stand corrected. I was 17 when the first book came out so, to me anyway, there was no desire to read or see any of the books or movie. I watched the first movie to see what the big deal was about. Wasn’t impressed and left it at that.
        Thanks for reminding me that a lot of these kids were in 4th grade when the book came out.

      • anya

        The first Harry Potter film came out on my 12th birthday. I’ve seen every one of them in theaters. I’m in college now. I’m not even that big of a Harry Potter fan but this is still a big deal to me.

      • Emily

        The first few books were on a basic reading level, but as the series progressed, so did the writing. The seventh book is on a much higher reading level.

      • shannen

        that was a cool movie though and it is still good to watch while your at home or in the theaters watching it on the big huge wide screen

      • Will

        I don’t think a story written on a 4th grade level should have anything to do with whether or not an adult can see it. I mean you look at those old fairy tales and they aren’t exactly written by Charles Dickens. So I personally think that a story is still a story no matter the writing level, as long as the characters are developed and theres incredible vision in the story then it’s worth reading/seeing.

    • Liz Lemon

      Never say never. Although, the two can’t be compared since HP is opening on a Friday in November. Lots of people have school and work. But I expect a HUGE 3-day gross. Possibly around 150 million in the US and about 500/600 million worldwide.

      • chris

        i’ll be seeing this more than once. ;-)

    • Orange Glass

      Actually, seeing as HP has a much more diverse fanbase than Twilight, I could see it easily breaking New Moon’s record.

    • Orange Glass

      Actually, since HP has a much more diverse fanbase than Twilight, I could see it easily breaking New Moon’s opening record.

    • mari


  • AL

    i hope it will have legs like Toy Story 3 or Inception than we will see a good box office run …not like New moon or eclipse ……

  • Matt C.

    Thank you, Thom, that’s exactly what I was thinking. However, even if HP doesn’t beat New Moon’s opening day record, I still think it could beat its opening weekend and it will definitely outgross it overall.

    • JB

      Exactly. Thing is, while the Twilight showings are repeats by teens and moms, HP has major legs and is appreciated/loved by ALL ages, male and female. This will have a broader appeal and won’t see a huge drop on saturday. I know a LOT of people who cannot see it opening night, people like myself who have kids not old enough to see it. Those people like us aren’t going to stake out opening night but will inhabit a seat later in the weekend, be it saturday night or a matinee showing. And while opening weekend will be one thing, my guess is it will still do huge next weekend. I’ve already seen numerous families post on FB that they’re waiting to see it next week.

      My husband and I took my then 8 yr old to see Azkaban opening weekend. Never again will I see a movie like this opening weekend. It was a mob scene.

    • anya

      I agree. It may not outgross New Moon’s first day run but I think it will definitely outgross it overall, and I think it has a good shot at beating New Moon’s opening weekend totals too.

  • dee123

    Remind me to stay away from E.W as we get closer to Breaking Dawn Part 1 release because it will turn into Twilight 24/7.

    • Clint Stephens

      hahaaha! so true

    • Dana


    • MCS

      Please, they wouldnt throw away their Glee coverage completely.

      • Casey

        So true.

      • Lizzie

        Hey! Don’t be dissin’ Glee…Daniel Radcliffe has shown an intrest for the show and I think Emma Watson has too.

  • Liam

    I dont really care about New Moon’s opening day record which is domestic anyway. The record for opening day including domestic and foreign is 104 million which was made by HP6. I want to see that record beat.

  • Liz Lemon

    I’m going to see it in 3 hours! Omg! I’m so excited that I’m feeling sick right now. Those last few months flew by!

  • James

    I know that EW is an American publication, so you focus on domestic box office, but why don’t you mention Half-Blood Prince’s records — biggest overseas opening day and weekend? I think it’d be more impressive to see those numbers fall: That shows HP to be a truly global event.
    As others have said, I’d rather win the war (overall gross, both domestic and international) than the battle (midnight and day, even weekend), but I admit it’d be fun if Twilight’s records did go down, just to see EW staff crying in their cosmos.

  • Academy A-bores

    Deathly Hallows looks interchangeable with the last three Harry Potter films. It’s the same villian and the same story structure. The production values are good and the actors are good enough, but at this point, it’s been there, done that with Harry Potter on film. Definitely time to close this film franchise, unless Rowling wants to do like George Lucas and write a prequel trilogy.

    • @Academy

      Clearly you’ve never read the books and aren’t familiar with the actual story. But your attempts at coming off like a “serious” commentator gave me a good laugh for about 10 seconds. So, thanks for that?

    • jimmycurry01

      Well, this one here really breaks the mold. None of part one takes place in Hogwarts at all. The setting is different, the tone is very different, and even the method of shooting is different. Here we are given a lot of hand held shots, which gives it a nice gritty and alive feeling. It may be possible to find the others to be interchangeable, as they do have a formula to them, but not this one.

    • Tarchannon

      Yup, clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about, Academy. Absolutely no idea.

    • anya

      You do realize that Harry Potter is based off a series of books right? And that this is part one of the finale, right? And that now they’re about to face the biggest big bad, right?

  • Suzii

    Can’t wait seen the trailers, the billboards, buses and posters are all taunting me. My sisters won’t go with me to see it at midnight, thats so sad. they said they are gona wait atleast a weak after the release to watch it so its less crowdy in the cinemas, but I doubt that, it’ll still be packed hello, this is England, we love Harry Potter.
    Harry Potter is Awesome and J K Rowling is a Genius.

  • Mindy

    Since this is the first HP film I am NOT seeing at midnight, instead I am amusing myself by watching the midnight sellouts accumulate on My city is over 100 sell outs right now. Capacity sell outs are maybe within reach. There are about 50 available screens right now, at 10pm.
    Don’t know if it can break Twilight’s record. But, I’d sure like it to. I think Part 2 next summer surely can though, right?

  • GH

    Harry Potter hardly has its own theme park. It has a section of a theme park that already existed and was re-themed to Harry Potter with the addition of a single new ride and some stores.

    • Ashley G

      Yes, I was actually just at the Universal theme park this weekend and was so dissapointed by how small the section was. Don’t get me wrong what they did was really great but they should have done way more. Not to mention that all the shops are teeny tiny and don’t allow for a good flow of traffic. I bet Universal is regretting not making it bigger.

    • WayneInNYC

      Um, *Two* new rides, but who’s counting.

  • Robby

    THIS MOVIE WAS AMAZING. It’s going to be the most successful one yet. I cannot get over its perfection. Wow. Just wow.

    • Lynda

      Robby you are so right….this one is brilliant.

  • Anonymous R

    For those who didn’t see it at midnight.. man, you guys missed out on something pretty darn good. If you’ve been complaining that they’ve been cutting a lot of parts in the past movies, like I have, well this one could very well silence you. They were faithful like movies one and two but BETTER. Oh, and bring a pack of tissues with you if you cried in the book.

    I don’t give a damn about the Twilight movie’s records. They go straight down hill, way down, after the opening night anyway. Harry Potter’s numbers stay strong long after they’re released.

  • del taco

    Deathly Hallows will break box office records this weekend. Current box office record holder, Tango and Cash, will finally be unseated.

    • Jennifer

      Although I won’t be seeing it this weekend (I’ll wait a few weeks), I can see it easily breaking New Moon’s opening, given the level of anticipation surrounding this film. (And that comes from an adult who’s never read any of the books, but has come to enjoy the movies, particularly the later, darker ones.)

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