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Harry Potter and the Wednesday Opening

July 11th, 2007

Another week and another movie trying to get the jump on the weekend. This time around it's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth film of the franchise, but in a summer of steep drop-offs for sequels, there is definitely some concern going into tonight's opening.

The top three films of the year, Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, and Pirates of the Caribbean, are all sequels. This may lead some to conclude sequels are hot right now, however, all three saw massive drop-offs in box office revenue from their respective predecessors. This is true of nearly all of the sequels that have come out this year, in fact, only Live Free or Die Hard appears to be able to buck that trend, and it has 12 years of inflation giving it a hand. On the other hand, it is also important to note that is also the only sequel to earn overwhelmingly positive reviews.

At the moment, these reviews are just a tiny bit ahead of the reviews Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix have been earning. This is good news and bad news for the franchise. On the one hand, 77% positive is one of the best scores for a wide release this year. On the other hand, it is the weakest of the franchise just missing the 79% positive reviews the Philosopher's Stone earned back in 2001.

(On a side note, a lot of the complaints deal with the heavy exposition in the movie. This is not surprising as the book is a transition from the coming of age story of the first four movies and the battle between good and evil of the last two. As a separate movie it is the least satisfying, but is absolutely necessary.)

How will this affect the film's opening at the box office? Probably very little. On the other hand, its Wednesday opening will likely result in the lowest three-day total for the franchise, although that is not guaranteed. Best case scenario has the film beating Spider-man 2's Wednesday opening, currently sitting at $40.4 million. That would likely lead to an opening of more than $90 million and a $160 million 5-day total. On the low end it could open with less than The Transformers did giving it only $100 million in 5 days.

Look for over $30 million tonight, $20 million tomorrow, and $80 million over the weekend.


Filed under: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix