'Harry Potter' sets box-office mark for Wednesday debut

Russ Britt
MarketWatch (MCT)

LOS ANGELES - "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" set a new record for a Wednesday debut at the box office, as the fifth installment in Warner Bros. Studios' hugely successful franchise racked up an estimated $44.8 million in ticket receipts.

Box-office tracker Media By Numbers said the figure includes roughly $12 million in midnight screenings from early Wednesday morning. "Potter's" debut in 4,181 theaters beat the previous Wednesday opening record set by "Spider-Man 2," which made $40.4 million in 2004.

Perhaps more noteworthy, the opening-day total also was the best for any film in the "Potter" series to date, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers.

The previous four "Potter" films have made more than $3.5 billion in worldwide receipts for Warner, a Time Warner Inc. subsidiary.

"This is one of those rare franchises that is as relevant today as it was when the franchise first started," Dergarabedian said. "For a fifth installment to be breaking records is pretty incredible."

Never has that been more apparent than during this summer, one of the most prolific not only for sequels but third installments in film franchises as well. Several experts predicted record numbers for this summer - but a series of sequels, while profitable, have yet to boost this year's box office to new heights.

Dergarabedian projected that "Potter" would make a quick rise to the $100 million level and beyond as it expands to 4,285 theaters on Friday. He said this film, along with the strong-performing "Transformers" movie from DreamWorks/Paramount, could help bolster the fortunes of the film industry.

This "Potter" seems to appeal not only to younger crowds but adults as well, which could bode well for its business, Dergarabedian said. Further, a survey from online ticket seller Fandango found that 60% of respondents said they would see this "Potter" film more than once.

"Potter" nearly set a preview screening record as its midnight showings came close to the mark set earlier this summer by Walt Disney Co.'s "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

"Pirates" previews made $13.2 million vs. "Potter's" $12 million, but "Pirates was in 3,100 theaters while "Potter" made it to 2,311, Media By Numbers stats show.

The strongest overall performer in the "Potter" series was 2001's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first installment. It made $317.6 million in domestic receipts and $974.8 million worldwide.

The most recent film, 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," turned in $290 million domestically and $895.9 million worldwide.

Time Warner shares ended trading on Thursday up 4 cents to $20.74.






A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.


The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.


Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.


Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.


HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.


Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.


Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.


'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.


Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.


DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.


JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.


​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.


Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times


Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.


How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.