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Harry Potter Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Dethrones Twilight Movies

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Ralph Fiennes Lord Voldemort
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 with Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort.

Nov. 30 update: Featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Julie Walters, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, and many other well-known British actors, David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 topped the North American box office this past weekend (Nov. 26–28), its second no. 1 weekend in a row.

The latest installment in the Harry Potter franchise pulled in $49.1 million – over $1 million less than Sunday estimates – according to weekend actuals found at Boxofficemojo.com.

Overseas, the latest Harry Potter – which topped the international box office for the second weekend in a row – has grossed an estimated $389.2 million. Top markets are the United Kingdom with $53.5 million, Germany with $36.8 million, Japan with $34.8 million, and Australia with $25.1 million.

Also, according to The Hollywood Reporter Deathly Hallows pulled in $19.1 million on its debut weekend in France.

International grosses currently represent 64 percent of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1‘s total take. Overseas markets, in fact, have allowed Warner Bros. to spend $200 million making the latest Harry Potter installment.

At no. 2 was Disney’s animated 3D feature Tangled, which brought in $48.76 million. At least partly thanks to 3D surcharges and 2010’s higher ticket prices, Tangled had the second biggest Thanksgiving opening ever. Nathan Greno and Byron Howard directed.

At a distant no. 3, DreamWorks’ animated 3D feature Megamind, with the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt, drew $12.57 million.

At no. 4, the Cher-Christina Aguilera musical Burlesque scored $11.94 million, followed by Tony Scott’s Unstoppable, starring Star Trek‘s Chris Pine and Denzel Washington, with $11.43 million at no. 5.

There’s no way Burlesque will be able to recover its reported $60 million budget (not including distribution/marketing costs) at the domestic box office.

Unstoppable, which cost $100 million, has underperformed despite the many good reviews. Compounding matters, Unstoppable hasn’t been doing all that great overseas, where it’s taken in only $42.92 million. That’s not surprising, as Denzel Washington’s vehicles tend to perform better domestically than abroad and hardly ever pass the $100 million milestone internationally (American Gangster was a notable exception).

The no. 6 movie was Edward Zwick’s romantic comedy-drama Love and Other Drugs, starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal, which grossed $9.73 million. Cost: a reported $30 million. Also in the cast: Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Judy Greer, and the recently deceased Jill Clayburgh in one of her last screen appearances.

At only 4 theaters, The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, took in $355,000, thus scoring the year’s highest per-theater average: $88,863.

The previous 2010 record belonged to Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo, which opened at 7 theaters earlier in the year, averaging $70,282 per location.

Now, it’s worth remembering that when we’re discussing such small number of theaters, it makes a huge difference when you go from 4 to 7 theaters. That’s nearly double the amount. All things being equal, the lower the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 posted the highest drop-off rate from last weekend, down 60.7 percent (or about down 51 percent if Thursday midnight screenings are removed from last weekend’s total).

Nov. 22: Directed by David Yates, and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes, Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 collected $125 million at the U.S. and Canada box office according to weekend actuals.

That’s about $500,000 less than Sunday estimates, about $5 million less than reported studio predictions, and about $10–$25 million less than some pundits had been expecting

At no. 2, Megamind, featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt, earned $16.01 million.

It was followed by Tony Scott’s Unstoppable, starring Star Trek‘s Chris Pine and Denzel Washington, with $13 million.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint; featuring just about every major British performer over 40; and directed by talent ranging from Chris Columbus to Alfonso Cuarón, the movie adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels have been a reliable box office staple for distributor Warner Bros.: to date the seven Harry Potter movies have grossed nearly $5.5 billion worldwide.

In North America, their opening-weekend grosses have usually ranged between 25-38 percent of each film’s total take. If that pattern holds, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which pulled in $125 million on its debut weekend, should eventually collect between $325–$500 million in the U.S. and Canada.

For comparison’s sake: starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: New Moon brought in more than 48 percent of its final domestic gross on its debut weekend. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, for its part, collected more than 52 percent of its total domestic take during its first five days out. (Eclipse opened on a Wednesday.)

Now, various news reports have claimed that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 has outperformed all its predecessors on opening weekend. That is true only if you ignore inflation and IMAX surcharges.

However, if you factor in inflation – even while ignoring the IMAX ticket-price surcharges – then both Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) had stronger debuts than Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

I’ve created a little chart that includes the opening-weekend and total box office grosses of the Harry Potter movies in North America.

Since I was unable to find specific IMAX data for the first few Harry Potter efforts, I left that variable off the chart.

Also, I opted not to include inflation-adjusted data for international grosses for three reasons:

  • Dollar-based international figures are misleading – when it comes to number of tickets sold – because if the dollar is low, international figures will be inflated; if it’s high, international figures will be lower even if the same number of tickets is sold.
  • There’s inflation in each country. Rates vary. Therefore it would be unworkable to try to figure out the adjusted-for-inflation box office take per country and then convert that into dollars.
  • The inflation-adjusted figures help you see which movies sold the highest number of tickets. The problem is that ticket prices vary widely from country to country. It would be a monumental task trying to figure out ticket prices per country when each Harry Potter movie came out so as to estimate the number of tickets sold internationally (while translating the amount collected into dollar figures).

The chart below was culled from figures found at Box Office Mojo. I’ve also used BOM’s inflation ratio to calculate 2010 grosses for the earlier Harry Potter movies.

The four most notable things about the inflation-adjusted chart are:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is no. 3 in number of tickets sold on opening weekend. It could be even further behind if IMAX surcharges were factored in.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone remains – by far – the most popular movie in the franchise.
  • The Harry Potter movies that opened during the summer season were the weakest performers.
  • The number of tickets sold for each Harry Potter movie has – with a couple of exceptions – gone steadily down in the last nine years.

2010 inflation-adjusted figures in parentheses

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (November 19, 2010) $125,017,372
(#1 rank, 4,125 theaters, $30,307 average)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15, 2009) $77,835,727 ($82,505.8m)
Total: $301,959,197 ($320,076.5m)
(#1 rank, 4,325 theaters, $17,997 average)
percent of Total Gross: 25.8%

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 11, 2007) $77,108,414 ($89,100.5m)
Total: $292,004,738 ($337,417.2 million)
(#1 rank, 4,285 theaters, $17,994 average)
percent of Total Gross: 26.4%

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (November 18, 2005) $102,685,961 ($127,356.1m)
Total: $290,013,036 ($359,691.2 million)
(#1 rank, 3,858 theaters, $26,616 average)
percent of Total Gross: 35.4%

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (June 4, 2004) $93,687,367 ($119,937.8m)
Total: $249,541,069 ($319,459.4m)
(#1 rank, 3,855 theaters, $24,302 average)
percent of Total Gross: 37.5%

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Nov. 15, 2002) $88,357,488 ($120,902.1m)
Total: $261,988,482 ($358,487.4m)
(#1 rank, 3,682 theaters, $23,997 average)
percent of Total Gross: 33.7%

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (November 16, 2001) $90,294,621 ($126,827.2 million)
Total: $317,575,550 ($446,066.1m)
(#1 rank, 3,672 theaters, $24,590 average)
percent of Total Gross: 28.4%

Ralph Fiennes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 image: Warner Bros.

Nov. 21: No major box office records were broken by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: David Slade’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has retained the record for most profitable midnight screenings ($30 million vs. Deathly Hallows’ $24 million); The Twilight Saga: New Moon has retained the record for best opening-day/single-day ($72.7 million vs. Deathly Hallows’ $61.1 million); Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight has easily retained the record for most successful three-day opening weekend ever ($158.4 million).

The next-to-last installment in the Harry Potter franchise, however, did beat the opening-weekend box office performance of all its predecessors. Well, as long as you toe the studio line and opt to ignore inflated ticket prices. More on that in an upcoming post.

Screening at 4,125 venues, Yates’ adventure-fantasy tale, which has a good but hardly outstanding 74 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ top critics, collected an estimated $30,332 per location.

For comparison’s sake:

  • In March, prior to 2010’s steep ticket-price increase but with the advantage of 3D surcharges, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland grossed $116.1 million, averaging $31,143 at 3,728 theaters.
  • Jon Favreau-Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man 2 opened in June with $128.1 million in ticket sales at 4,380 sites, averaging $29,252 per theater.
  • Also in June, Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3 – the year’s most successful film to date (partly with the assistance of 3D surcharges) – grossed $110.3 million at 4,028 locations on its first weekend out, averaging $27,385 per site.

Also worthy of note: Deathly Hallows: Part 1 had only a very minor bump on Saturday when compared to Friday’s figures (minus midnight screenings), going from approximately $37.15 million on Friday to $38.22 million on Saturday.

That’s quite possibly why this latest Harry Potter failed to either meet or surpass expectations.

Overseas, where the Harry Potter films tend to perform more strongly than in the U.S. and Canada, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 opened with $28 million opening in the United Kingdom, $21.8 million in Germany, $14.8 million in Australia, $14 million in Japan, and $12.3 million in Russia. The film’s total after five days is $205 million according to The Hollywood Reporter, second to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘s $236 million at a similar number of screens/territories last year.

Note: Despite Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1‘s heavy-duty opening-weekend take, North American box office receipts (an estimated $197m) were down a whopping 24 percent (not factoring in inflation, which would make things look even worse) when compared to the same weekend last year.

That weekend boasted the Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson-Taylor Lautner vehicle The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142.8m) and Sandra Bullock’s sleeper blockbuster The Blind Side ($34.1m).

Back to this weekend: The no. 2 movie in North America, following David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, was DreamWorks’ animated 3D feature Megamind, starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt.

Megamind earned $16.17 million (down a relatively steep down 44.7 percent), having thus passed the $100 million milestone according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Total to date: $109.47 million. Cost: $130 million.

Tony Scott’s Unstoppable, starring Star Trek‘s Chris Pine and Denzel Washington, collected $13.1 million (down 42.3 percent) in third place. Total: $41.96 million. Cost: $100 million.

Of note, new entry The Next Three Days, directed by Crash‘s Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis and starring Russell Crowe, brought in a dismal $6.75 million at no. 5, averaging only $2,633 per-theater at 2,564 locations.

Poorly received by film reviewers – 38 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics – The Next Three Days had Russell Crowe’s second-worst (wide) opening weekend figure in the last 10 years. Only A Good Year fared worse, taking in $3.72 million in 2006.

And if inflation is factored in, The Next Three Days’ take looks even paltrier when compared to Crowe’s movies of the last 15 years or so.

In all probability, The Next Three Days will end the weekend way short of the $10 million mark, thus becoming one more domestic box office disappointment on Russell Crowe’s cap, following Robin Hood, Body of Lies, State of Play, 3:10 to Yuma, A Good Year, and Cinderella Man.

In the last five years, the only Crowe vehicle that performed above expectations was American Gangster, which collected $130.1 million in 2007.

Nov. 20: Directed by David Yates, adapted by Steve Kloves from J.K. Rowling’s novel, and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Ralph Fiennes, the eagerly awaited Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the next-to-last installment in the Harry Potter franchise, opened to the tune of $61.15 million in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, Nov. 19, thus not only topping the North American box office but also representing most of it, according to studio estimates.

I mean, the no. 2 movie, Tony Scott’s Unstoppable, starring Star Trek‘s Chris Pine and Oscar winner Denzel Washington, came to a grinding halt – or at least it looked like it did if compared to Deathly Hallows – taking in $4.07 million, or less than one tenth of the Harry Potter gross.

Yates’ adventure-fantasy flick, which has received on average just a lukewarm response from critics, collected an outstanding $14,824 per location (4,125 of them) – even without 3D surcharges. (Though IMAX surcharges did very much apply at more than 350 sites.)

That’s the good Harry Potter news. The less than good news is that despite all the buzz, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will simply not smash all sorts of box office records.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has retained the box office record for most profitable midnight screenings ($30 million vs. Deathly Hallows’ $24 million), while The Twilight Saga: New Moon has easily retained the record for best opening-day/single-day ($72.7m).

That means Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson-Taylor Lautner’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon‘s opening-day (and single-day) record remains intact, much like the vampire-human-werewolf trio’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse‘s midnight screenings remain the most profitable ever (not adjusted for inflation) even though the latest Harry Potter installment opened at many more theaters – a record-setting 3,700 sites or whereabouts.

In that category, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is no. 5, after New Moon, Eclipse, The Dark Knight, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

And there’s basically no chance Deathly Hallows will get even near to the weekend take of either The Dark Knight ($158.4m) or Spider-Man 3 ($151.1m). Well, barring a miracle, that is.

True enough, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 has surpassed the opening-day take of the previous Harry Potter record holder, last year’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – but, if studio estimates for Deathly Hallows are correct, only if you choose to ignore ticket-price increases.

Adjusted for inflation (using Box Office Mojo’s 2010 “average”), Half-Blood Prince would have collected 62.02 million were it to open in fall 2010.

Are the suits at Warner Bros. weeping copiously? I doubt it – though I’m sure they wish their movie had smashed records left and right.

As for Harry Potter being the most successful movie franchise ever … Well, apart from cheaply made horror flicks (Saw and its six children), how many 7-movie franchises have there been in this past decade of inflated ticket prices?

Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is expected to take in anywhere between $130m-$150m+ this weekend.

Both The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3 should be able to keep their place as the top two three-day-weekend grossers ever (not adjusted for inflation). But Deathly Hallows: Part 1 may land in third place.

Nov. 19: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint fans were no match for those of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner.

David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which opened at midnight Thursday, grossed $24 million in North America. That’s a lot of money for midnight screenings – but not enough to surpass the box office take of either The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($26.3m) last fall or The Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($30m) this past summer.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 thus gets the bronze medal of midnight shows.

Unless there’s a major surge on Friday and Saturday, it seems highly unlikely that this latest Harry Potter will get even close to breaking The Dark Knight‘s opening weekend record ($158.4m) or even New Moon‘s opening-day record ($72.7m). On Thursday, some pundits had been considering the possibility of a record-smashing opening for Death Hallows: Part I.

The good news: Deathly Hallows: Part 1 performed better than last year’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which collected $22.2 million from midnight shows.

The North American box office was down across the board – for the second day in a row – on Thursday, Nov. 18. The top ten movies were down nearly 8 percent from Wednesday and a whopping 69.4 percent from the previous Thursday, according to figures.

Not that Harry Potter fans would care, but reviewers haven’t exactly been falling all over themselves in their praise of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics, Deathly Hallows I currently has a 71 percent approval rating. That’s certainly not bad; but it isn’t great, either.

In fact, “more of the same” seems to be the general take on this latest Harry Potter installment. If you enjoyed the previous Harry Potters you’ll enjoy this one, too. If you didn’t, well, then go check out Sally Hawkins in Made in Dagenham, which is also opening this weekend.

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9 comments

christina -

I AM A BIG FAN OF HARRY POTTER (DANIEL RADCLIF) I AM A REALLY BIG FAN. WELL IF ANY OF YOU PEOPLE WHO KNOW DANIEL RADCLIF TELL HIM I AM A HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE FAN. SINCERELY CHRISTINA SOOT

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tam -

The Unstoppable smells like a flop.

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sarah -

harry potter and the deathly hallows is the best movie i have ever seen and who ever did not watch it should watch it because it is a great movie.

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derek -

dumb muggles if you hate harry potter your a muggle not a wizard i really like emma watson shes hot

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stella -

My husband and I saw the movie this afternoon. I LOVED it and so did he. We were in the mood for a thriller and this hit the spot. There were lots of breathless moments and plot twists.
It my favorite Russell Crowe movie so far!!

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Judy Sherman -

I thought the movie was great! Russell Crowe is an incredible actor who never disappoints, and the movie was fast-moving, packed with action and suspense. Supporting cast also excellent in my opinion. 4 stars!

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nratchet -

Say what you want, we LOVED it! Going back next week. We will also buy the DVD when it comes out and will be there for opening night when part 2 comes out. You guys just don’t get it! Dumb Muggles!

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Selphie -

@annamorphos that’s probably because your town sucks since it’s full of a bunch of lame twihards.

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annamorphos -

Dethrone the Twilight Saga? Really? Cause I just called the biggest theater in town to see if they still had tickets for the midnight showing of Deathly Hallows and they said that 3/4 of the theater is still available. When I called about the same time for Eclipse all the seats were sold out.

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