By Anthony D'Alessandro | Thompson on Hollywood July 11, 2011 at 4:20AM
As Warner Bros. brings the blockbuster franchise Harry Potter to an end, our in-house numbers cruncher, Anthony d'Alessandro, looks at what could be some astronomical numbers for the ultimate Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hallows Part 2.
This comes as no surprise, but according to studio box office bean counters and early U.S. tracking, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is expected to ring up the best domestic three-day opening of the franchise, out-whizzing the $125-million bow set last November by Part 1.
By how much? Bullish projections say $20 million, which would give Deathly Hallows 2 a $145 million three-day, making it the third best ever behind The Dark Knight ($158.4 million) and Spider-Man 3 ($151.1 million). Completely intentional on Warner Bros.’ part, Deathly Hallows Part 2 is unspooling during the same exact frame--the third weekend of July--as 2008's Dark Knight and 2009’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
One studio B.O. tracker attributes the potential surplus of cash for Deathly Hallows Part 2 to 3-D (the first in the series). However, even if 3-D shares are lower than the 60% posted by Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the consensus is that people will definitely make it to the final Harry Potter by hook or by crook.Why? “It All Ends,” as its multi-piece print and billboard campaign proclaims.
Across all total awareness quadrants – men and women under/over 25 -- Deathly Hallows 2 is showing a 92%-plus in each category, the highest is women under 25 at 97%. This comes as no shock since femmes repped 57% of the opening weekend for Deathly Hallows Part 1. Overall total awareness charts at 94%. Such figures are stupendous. Consider that the four-day out total awareness results for Super 8 were 64% ($35.5 million opening) and the two-week out tracking for Green Lantern ($53.2 million) was 86% (tracking becomes more accurate on the Thursday before showtime).
Few film franchises have declared themselves as having an ‘end.’ George Lucas might have mentioned that Star Wars had some sort of finale in Revenge of the Sith ($380.3 million), however, he's known to change his mind. Back to the Future III posted the lowest cume of its trilogy with $87.7 million, but that film was released during a time when sequels churned out depreciating returns, not to mention, it was a bubble gum western -- a genre that '80s audiences didn't care about, particularly when layered upon a time-travel sci-fi comedy. Another originally scripted property, The Matrix Revolutions, posted the lowest domestic cume of its series ($139.3 million) largely because the Wachowski Brothers threw their plotting down a rabbit hole, much to the chagrin of devout fans.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 should post the highest opening and final domestic cume for thePotter series in the same way that Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ($124 million five-day bow, $377 million domestic take) did for the J.R.R. Tolkien cinema adaptations. Both franchises were based on best-selling global lit properties and their filmmakers went to great lengths to ensure that they didn’t fail short of fans' expectations. Deathly Hallows Part 2 is currently measuring 100% fresh on the Tomatometer as critics concur that it was proper to split J.K. Rowling’s 784 page tome into two pieces
While Deathly Hallows Part 1 owns the series’ opening three-day record, the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is the domestic champ with $317.6 million.
The initial B.O. guessing-game is whether Deathly Hallows Part 2’s midnight ticket sales can outstrip the $30 million record set by last July’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Deathly Hallows Part 1 earned a robust $24 million, remarkable for a fall release considering that school was in session. Ticketing sales agent Fandango, which savors its status as a B.O. barometer of sorts in such matters, crowed last Thursday that 2,000 July 15 showtimes for Deathly Hallows Part 2 are already sold out, making it the fastest selling pre-sale of the year – twice as fast as Half-Blood Prince. In a December Fandango poll, participants exclaimed that Deathly Hallows Part 2 was their most anticipated flick of 2011. Fandango also stated that they represent 71% of the daily total ticket sales for Deathly Hallows Part 2 vs. 14% on Transformers 3. Sixteen days before Deathly Hallows Part 1, Fandango had sold out 500 showtimes.
But who is to say that it’s all over for Potter? Like Lucas with Star Wars, Rowling doesn’t want the parade to end. Rallying
the masses at the London premiere, the author proclaimed “It is my baby and if I want to bring it out to play again I will."