REVISED THURSDAY ESTIMATE: 'Harry Potter' with only an estimated $18.6M.
by Steve Mason
FRIDAY MORNING: Last night, I went online with a $25.65 million Thursday projection for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Bros.). I also wrote a disclaimer about how tricky it is to make a projection for the second full day of release for a movie with a mid-week opening when there are midnight shows. It's time to use the disclaimer. Harry Potter was down 42 percent as I wrote last night, but they were actually down 42 percent from $32 million ($44 million less $12 million in midnight business). So, my revised estimate for Order of the Phoenix on Thursday is $18.6 million.
I could pull off the update that I wrote last night, but that's not my style. I always leave my stories and predictions up whether they turn out to be right or wrong. Given that Thursday was considerably softer than I thought it would be, I'll be interested to see how front-loaded the picture is. We'll get a very good idea when I release Friday projections tonight.
THURSDAY NIGHT: After opening with the all-time biggest Wednesday, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Bros.) appears to have delivered the all-time fourth-best Thursday. HP5 took in an estimated $25.65 million on Thursday, bringing its two-day cume to $69.8 million. The only movies in modern history with bigger Thursdays are Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith ($50 million), The Matrix Reloaded ($37.5 million) and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones ($30.1 million).
Please note: Whenever there is a midnight opening for a major release, it's tricky to call the second full day performance for that title. It's difficult to figure how much of the midnight take is accurately represented in the Day 1 gross. I know this Harry Potter number is close, but the margin of error may be a little higher than usual:
EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY THURSDAY ESTIMATES
1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Bros.) -- $25.65 million, down 42 percent [$69.8 million cume]
2. Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) -- $6.23 million, down 11 percent [$186.8 million cume]
3. Ratatouille (Buena Vista) – $3.22 million, down 18 percent [$124.8 million cume]
4. Live Free or Die Hard (Fox) -- $1.55 million, down 11 percent [$91.9 million cume]
5. License to Wed (Warner Bros.) -- $1.15 million, down 9 percent [$23 million cume]
6. Evan Almighty (Universal) -- $808,000, down 17 percent [$82.8 million cume]
7. 1408 (MGM/Weinstein) -- $709,000, down 10 percent [$57.1 million cume]
8. Knocked Up (Universal) -- $508,000, down 10 percent [$134.5 million cume]
9. Sicko (Lionsgate/Weinstein) -- $394,000, down 12 percent [$13.2 million cume]
10. Evening (Focus) -- $325,000, down 8 percent [$7 million cume]
11. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Fox) -- $289,000, down 7 percent [$125.2 million cume]
12. Ocean's Thirteen (Warner Bros.) -- $276,000, down 7 percent [$110.5 million cume]
13. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Buena Vista) -- $232,000, down 11 percent [$303 millioncume]
14. Shrek the Third (Dreamworks/Paramount) -- $97,800, down 18 percent [$317.3 million cume]
15. Nancy Drew (Warner Bros.) -- $95,800, down 8 percent [$23.8 million cume]
THURSDAY MORNING: As I forecast last night, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Bros.) is the new all-time Wednesday box office champion, topping Spider-Man 2's $40.4 million. The opening-day estimate, however, sailed past my target range of $39 million-$42 million. HP5 is in the stratosphere with a breathtaking estimated $44.3 million to start its domestic run.
Harry's record-breaking day started off Tuesday night/Wednesday morning at 12:01 a.m. (All U.S. time zones) with a staggering $12 million. That's double the take midnight take for 2005's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Then it was sellouts and near-capacity houses all day long. Here are the Top 5 Wednesdays in modern box office history.
ALL-TIME TOP 5 WEDNESDAY BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCES
1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, $44.3 million (estimate)
2. Spider-Man 2, $40.4 million
3. Transformers, $29 million
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, $28.5 million
5. The Passion of the Christ, $26.5 million
ALL-TIME TOP 5 HARRY POTTER DAYS
1. July 11, 2007 -- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, $44.3 million (estimate)
2. Dec. 18, 2005 -- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, $40.1 million
3. June 4, 2004 -- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, $38.2 million
4. Dec. 19, 2005 -- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, $36.7 million
5. Nov. 15, 2002 -- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, $34.2 million
I'll be continuously updating during Harry Potter's opening week and right through the weekend.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Bros) followed up its $12 million in Tuesday midnight shows with a huge first day. Opening days are always tricky. Studio execs are exceedingly coy about numbers as they roll in, and midweek openings are even more dicey. Throw in a midnight start, and there is additional room for error.
I feel very safe putting Harry Potter 5's opening day in the $39 million-$42 million range. That does include the Tuesday midnight shows. It's very likely that the latest summer sequel has delivered the all-time biggest day for any Harry Potter movie, besting HP4's opening day of $40.1 million. There's also a strong probability that Order of the Phoenix will become the all-time Wednesday box office champ, surpassing Spider-Man 2's $40.4 million.
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Warner Bros.) debuts today (Wednesday, July 11), and there is no question that HP5 will be a box office monster ... but will it follow this summer's sequel formula?
Let's look at the five major 2007 summer sequels to calculate a formula to predict the success of the latest Potter picture. Please note that I'm not including Live Free or Die Hard (20th Century Fox) in this mix because it's been 12 years since the last Die Hard movie, and Live Free really isn't playing like a sequel, especially with the Under 25 crowd.
Spider-Man 2 -- $88.1 million opening, $373 million cume
Spider-Man 3 -- $151 million opening, $334 million cume
Opening Weekend, up 42 percent; Total Domestic, down 11 percent
Shrek 2 -- $108 million opening, $441.2 million cume
Shrek the Third -- $121.6 million opening, $316.1 million cume
Opening Weekend, up 11 percent; Total Domestic, down 28 percent
Pirates of the Caribbean (Buena Vista)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest -- $135.6 million opening, $423.3 million cume
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End -- $114.7 million opening, $302.1 million cume
Opening Weekend, down 15 percent; Total Domestic, down 29 percent
Ocean's (Warner Bros.)
Ocean's Twelve -- $39.1 million opening, $125.5 million cume
Ocean's Thirteen -- $36.1 million opening, $109.5 million cume
Opening Weekend, down 8 percent; Total Domestic, down 13 percent
Fantastic Four (Fox)
Fantastic Four -- $56 million opening, $154.6 million cume
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer -- $58 million opening, $124.4 million cume
Opening Weekend, up 4 percent; Total Domestic, down 20 percent
There's a clear pattern here. Three of the five sequels opened bigger than the previous installment, and the other two were down only slightly. Meanwhile, the cume is down drastically for all five. In fact, on average, this summer's sequels have opening weekends 7 percent higher than the previous films in the franchise, but their total domestic take is down an average of 20 percent.
If we plug in those percentages for the first five days of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it translates to an opening weekend of $128 million and $255 million total domestic. These numbers look about right to me. Here's how I see HP5 performing on its opening five days:
Wednesday (July 11): $32.5 million (including Tuesday midnight shows)
Thursday (July 12): $19.5 million
Friday (July 13): $26.2 million
Saturday (July 14): $27.9 million
Sunday (July 15): $21.9 million
Opening 5-Day Gross: $128 million
Friday thru Sunday: $76M
Those would be fantastic numbers, and this would easily become the best opening five days of any of the movies in the HP franchise.
5-Day Grosses of the Harry Potter films
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) -- $104.5 million opening, $317.5 million cume
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) -- $98.4 million opening, $261.9 million cume
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) -- $109.3 million opening, $249.5 million cume
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) -- $119.7 million opening, $290 million cume
I'll have early returns for opening day of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by 11 p.m. (Pacific).