“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I” scores $61.2 million on first day

hollywoodnews.com: It’s a $61.2 million Friday for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I.’ That’s the fifth-biggest single day of all time, behind the opening days of ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ ($62 million), ‘The Dark Knight’ ($67 million), ‘Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ ($68 million), and ‘Twilight Saga: New Moon’ ($72 million). It’s the third biggest Friday of all, as ‘Transformers 2’ and ‘Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ both opened on a Wednesday. The number surpasses the $58 million that ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ earned on its first day (a Wednesday), and it clobbers the $40 million that ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ earned on its first Friday in November 2005 (the last time one of these films opened on a Friday). For a bit of perspective, nine years ago this weekend, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone broke the record for a single day gross with $32 million on its first Friday (it would break that record again with $33 million the next day). ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I’ nearly doubled that.

Some pundits are hollering about a $140-150 million weekend, and while I’d love to see that, the math doesn’t make it a guarantee. The seventh ‘Harry Potter’ film pulled down $24 million in midnight screenings, meaning that 39% of its daily take came from those 12:01am showings. That’s even more than the midnight-to-first day ratio for ‘Twilight Saga: New Moon,’ which grossed 36% of its first day ($26 million) in midnight showings. It also makes ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ part I the most front-loaded midnight-to-first day picture of all time. So if’ Harry Potter 7′ performs like ‘Twilight 2,’ that would give it a $121 million opening weekend.

Yes, ‘Harry Potter’ is more of a family franchise but A) the prior sequels were pretty front-loaded too and B) this film is absolutely not pitched towards small kids. On the other hand, the last two Friday-opening Potter films had 2.5x opening day-to-weekend multiplier (‘Goblet of Fire’ – $40m/$102m) and a 2.4x multiplier (‘Prisoner of Azkaban ‘- $38m/$93m). Neither of those are mind-blowing holds, but they are better than the under-2x that the ‘Twilight Saga’ is famous for. It Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I can pull off a Dark Knight-like 2.3x multiplier (no guarantee with such massive midnight front-loading), then the seventh picture can score a $141 million opening weekend.

To read more about this story go to Mendelson’s Memos

Scott Mendelson

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