Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II crushes midnight record, with a $43.5m 12:01am haul. A $100m Friday and $200m weekend are within reach...

The final chapter of the Harry Potter series demolished its first short-term record right at 12:01am.  The film earned an eye-popping $43.5 million in midnight shows alone ($2 million of that was in IMAX alone).  That crushes the old record, Twilight Saga: Eclipse's $30 million midnight haul by 45%.  Now, to be fair, about 30% of that uptick could arguably be credited to 3D ticket-price bumps, but money is money.  It now looks quite clear that the opening day record (Twilight Saga: New Moon with $72 million) is almost guaranteed to be toast, and The Dark Knight's $158 million opening weekend haul is in jeopardy.  The worldwide opening weekend record (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's $394 million five-day haul) is pretty much toast, as this finale has already grossed $126 million in two days heading into the actual weekend.  Let's presume (as we should) that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II may have the most frontloaded opening weekend ever.  As of now, African Cats holds the record, with a meager 1.81x weekend multiplier earlier this year ($3.3 million opening day with a $6 million weekend).  So, let's presume it has the smallest midnight-to-opening day and midnight-to-opening weekend number in recent history.

The first figure belongs to Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which earned $68 million first day (Wednesday) off of a $30 million midnight haul (44% midnight).  If Harry Potter 7.2 does as much as 50% of its first day business at midnight, we're still looking at a mammoth $87 million opening Friday.  As you can see, if the opening day has anything resembling 'legs' (as much as midnight-to-Friday can), even as much as 43% of its first day at midnight, we're looking at (dear lord...) the first $100 million single day.  Moving on to the full weekend... If Harry Potter 7.2 pulls just a 1.8x weekend multiplier (the worst weekend multiplier ever) off a $87 million opening day (which would be the worst midnight-to-opening day multiplier ever), we're still looking at a near-record opening weekend of $156 million.  If we just do comparisons to Harry Potter and Twilight (which are startlingly similar in terms of front-loaded fanbases), an even bigger number opens up.

The worst Fri-Sun multiplier between those two franchises is 1.97x for Twilight Saga: New Moon, which grossed $142 million off a $72 million Friday (with a $26 million midnight - or 18% of the whole opening weekend at midnight).  The worst such multiplier just for Harry Potter is the last picture, which pulled a 2.04x weekend multiplier off a $61 million opening Friday (and a $24 million midnight haul - or 19% of the whole opening weekend at midnight).  Hell, if Harry Potter 7.2 does as much as 25% of its weekend at midnight (a record by 6%), then it still pulls in $174 million.  The worst midnight multiplier of the two (Potter 7's 19%) gets you $226 million for the weekend!  The  biggest midnight-to-opening day ratio of the bunch (Eclipse's 44%) combined with the worst weekend multiplier of the bunch (New Moon's 1.97x) gets you $194 million for the weekend.  We'll know more in twelve hours.  But even within the safe frontloading zone of a near-record 43.5% of opening day at midnight and a record 21% of the weekend at midnight, it's looking dangerously likely that we may be looking at the first $100 million single day and the first $200 million weekend, with a $500 million global opening weekend to boot.  Wow...

Scott Mendelson    

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