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Harry Potter and the Fanboy Effect

July 17th, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix burst onto screens on Wednesday but proved the old adage that the fire that burns brightest burns the shortest as it fell off its record breaking pace immediately. That said, the weekend was still one worth celebrating as the overall box office took in $181 million, which was a small increase (4.3%) from last weekend, and a substantial increase (14%) from the same weekend last year. And there are still five more films to come that should have little trouble topping $100 million and a couple that could reach $200 million.

Talk about front-loaded. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opened with $44.2 million on Wednesday (including $12 million in midnight showings the night before), which was roughly 10% more than Spider-man 2 earned 3 years ago, and broke the record for highest Wednesday box office. However, it quickly fell off that film's pace, earning $77.1 million over the weekend for $139.7 million in five days. Those figures are $11 million and $12 million less than what Spider-man 2 opened with, and there's little chance that Order of the Phoenix will be able to keep pace with that film. That said, it is still a fantastic debut and the second highest June opening ever. The only film to make more was Prisoner of Azkaban and it didn't have a Wednesday opening to soften the weekend numbers. As for the film's long-term chances, the Fanboy Effect will rule the day, but strong reviews and a lack of direct competition should give it a boost, making $250 million practically guaranteed while $300 million is still within reach.

The Transformers finished within a rounding error of Thursday's predictions with $37.0 million over the weekend. That was down 47.48% from its opening weekend while its running tally was up to $224.0 million. This puts the film on pace to reach $300 million nearly perfectly and means a sequel is practically assured. Hopefully the rumors are right and we'll see the Dinobots. Two of the coolest things ever are giant robots and dinosaurs, so combining them should just be the apex of awesomeness! Just remember that Sludge isn't a brontosaurus cause those don't exist. The proper name for that dinosaur is Apatosaurus. Also, if you are reading this and are getting a little light-headed, that's merely a symptom of Geek Overload. Don't worry, the dizziness will pass.

Moving on...

Ratatouille didn't quite live up to expectations, taking in $18.0 million over the weekend for a three-week total of $143.0 million, but that's close enough to call it a victory. Cars earned $23.3 million over its third weekend of release for a running tally of $156.6 million. This means it has fallen off that film's pace and isn't even earning the same legs despite earning the best reviews for a wide release this year. I think Pixar should still be happy with the film's performance so far, but they have to accept that this is the new market for digitally animated films. It will be nearly impossible for G-rated digitally animated films to crack $300 million in the future but as long as the quality remains high, they should still be profitably every single time.

As expected, Live Free or Die Hard crossed $100 million over the weekend, but its weekend haul of $11.3 million was better than expected. The next milestone for the film is topping Die Hard 2, which it should do in just over a week.

Amazingly, it was License to Wed that had the best hold in the top five despite having some of the worst reviews of the year. It fell just 29.85% to $7.3 million over the weekend and has earned $30.4 million in total. This is already more than the film was originally expected to make and is closing in on its production budget. So while it is not a blockbuster by any definition of the word, it should still show a reasonable profit.

The only other wide release of the week was Captivity, which failed to reach the top ten during its opening. The film earned just $1.4 million in 1,061 theaters and given its reviews I doubt its theatrical run will last much beyond this coming weekend.

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Filed under: Transformers, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ratatouille, Live Free or Die Hard, License to Wed, Captivity