‘Harry Potter 6’ $58.2 Million Wednesday

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince followed up its record smashing $22.2 million midnight outings with another $36 million during the day on Wednesday for a full opening day tally of $58.2 million. That’s the second largest Wednesday haul on record behind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen‘s $62 million but, more importantly, well above the $44.2 million tally that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix debuted with in 2007. It also clocks in as the fourth largest overall opening day behind The Dark Knight, Tranformers 2, and Spider-Man 3.

The midnight showings represented 38% of Wednesday’s overall take, which is by far the highest on record. Order of the Phoenix‘s and Transformers 2‘s midnights represented 27% and 26% of their respective Wednesday debuts. This is not an indication of bad word-of-mouth but instead due to a  combination of a wider and more heavily marketed midnight release and two full years of pent-up demand since Order of the Phoenix, the longest amount of time between Potter films. This will probably result in a very hefty Thursday drop-off. Order of the Phoenix dropped 58% on its first Thursday so look for Half-Blood Prince to drop by more than 60% for around $22 million during its second day of release. This is still a very impressive start and puts Potter in a position to take in as much as $100 million over the weekend.

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Box Office Data Sources: Box Office Mojo and The Numbers

‘Half-Blood Prince’ Shatters Midnight Record

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is off to a dazzling start in North America with a remarkable $22.2 million on 3,003 theaters from Tuesday midnight showings. The figure nearly doubled the $12 million midnight debut from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. More importantly, the Warner Bros. film broke the overall midnight record of $18.5 million set by The Dark Knight, which opened around the same time last year. The Batman Begins sequel went on to post the largest opening day ever at $67.2 million.

Order of the Phoenix also opened on a Wednesday in 2007 and claimed $44.2 million for its opening day. That record held for nearly two years until Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen topped it three weeks ago with a mind-boggling $62 million. If Half-Blood Prince follows the same pattern as the Transformers sequel and Order of the Phoenix, then it’s staring down an opening day north of $80 million, but that number is probably too high given the huge up front demand. The midnight showings will likely represent about a third of the Wednesday gross, which is a very similar composition as another highly anticipated sequel, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. That would yield a tally of around $67 million, which is incredibly close to taking down The Dark Knight‘s record and more than enough to retake the Wednesday crown from Tranformers 2.

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that this sixth Harry Potter film did this without a massive IMAX release because of a contract with Michael Bay and Paramount to keep Transformers 2 exclusive to the large screen format for five weeks. IMAX sometimes charges more than a $5 premium per ticket. Potter fans will still get to see their favorite wizard in IMAX starting July 29.

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Box Office Data Sources: Box Office Mojo and The Numbers

‘Transformers 2’ Smashes Wednesday Record

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is no longer the record holder for the largest Wednesday opening of all time. That’s because Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen racked up a smashing $60.6 million opening day (including $16 million from Tuesday midnights). That’s a full 37% above Order of the Phoenix‘s opening Wednesday.

Paramount Studios picked an excellent release date by taking advantage of a summer market that is currently being dominated by comedies and hasn’t seen an action blockbuster since Terminator Salvation launched over a month ago. Credit also goes to the original Transformers which was generally well-received by moviegoers in 2007 and then expanded its audience with a very lucrative home market run.

Where Transformers 2 goes from here largely depends on its Thursday performance. Looking at other similar Wednesday blockbusters points to a Wed-to-Thurs drop-off of anywhere between 50-65%. Order of the Phoenix, for example, dropped 58% on Thursday after a very similar midnight to opening day ratio as Transformers 2. If the Michael Bay helmed film follows the same pattern, then Thursday would chime in with about $25 million followed by $105 million over the weekend. That would be a five day start of $190 million, which is not far behind The Dark Knight‘s pace. If Thursday is even just a million or two higher, then that record may fall to this sci-fi action film as well.

The Harry Potter franchise does have a chance to swipe the record right back with the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Wednesday, July 15.

Box Office Data Sources: Box Office Mojo and The Numbers

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‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ moves to summer ’09

Wow, this is some very major and unexpected news. Box Office Mojo is reporting that Warner Bros. has moved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from mid-November of this year to next summer, July 17, 2009 to be exact. The weekend before Thanksgiving has been the franchise’s most popular date to open on so one has to wonder why the change? Well, it may have something to do with the studio’s massive success of The Dark Knight, which opened on the same weekend in July that Half-Blood Prince is now poised to occupy next year. The previous film in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, also bowed on a similar date from July of last year. Three of the first four Potter films, though, launched on the weekend before Thanksgiving.

This major shake-up in the November release schedule may cause Sony Pictures to react with a move of their own. Quantum of Solace, the latest Bond film, is currently slated for release on November 7 of this year, but with Potter now vacating the November 21-23 frame, Agent 007 may fall back two weeks. The weekend before Thanksgiving is one of the most lucrative weekends to open a film on because that release also position’s such a blockbuster to have a strong second weekend at the box office since that is when the major holiday occurs. Casino Royale opened on that same weekend in 2006 and became the highest grossing Bond film in history. It also earned an impressive 4.1 multiplier (total divided by opening weekend).

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Box Office Data Sources: The Numbers and Box Office Mojo