Predicting ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ Wednesday/Thursday Box-Office

Photo: Warner Bros.

UPDATE: Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting 4,500+ midnight showings are sold out and the film has a shot at beating the all-time domestic record for Wednesday ticket sales.

Doesn’t it figure Brad would hit me up for a Harry Potter Wednesday and Thursday prediction piece nine hours before audiences will begin filling theaters for sold-out midnight screenings? Of course, I am a sucker for this kind of stuff and having loved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince I am more than willing to talk about it a little more and open up the discussion as to just how high it will go.

The way I see it, we have two potential benchmarks when trying to ascertain how much Half-Blood Prince will rake in on Wednesday and Thursday. First off is the opening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix two years ago:

Wednesday: $44.2m

Thursday: $18.4m

Total: $72.6m

The latest Transformers must also be taken into consideration, if only because it’s the most recent big-name Wednesday opening.

Wednesday: $62.0m

Thursday: $29.1m

Total: $91.1m

Bear in mind Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen pulled off this trick against poor reviews as pre-sales that essentially guaranteed it huge cash.

Now then, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is not getting anything nearing poor reviews. It sits at a plum 98 percent on RottenTomatoes, the notoriously difficult grader Brad gave it a healthy “B”, and I personally found it to be the best in the series. Right now it’s 22 percent higher than Order of the Phoenix, so if people needed an extra reason to buy up every ticket around they’ve certainly got one, and according to that’s just what they’re doing as more than 1,300 showtimes are sold-out as of Monday afternoon. As a matter of fact, The Hollywood Reporter brings word Half-Blood Prince has already destroyed the $12 million in midnight box-office Order of the Phoenix brought in with a chance at $18 million.

Next we’ve got to factor in theater counts. Half-Blood Prince will get approximately 4,300 theaters according to BoxOfficeMojo‘s current tally. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen maxed out at 4,234. Michael Bay’s film was rated PG-13, while the latest Potter comes in at a very bankable PG. Factor in the fact it’s been six weeks since a non-animated family-friendly summer film was released (Night at the Museum II). Finally, throw in a weak (almost comically) non-family winner in Bruno last weekend and you’ve got the witches’ brew for a huge Potter opening.

Potential caveat #1: Transformers 2 banked $14m in IMAX sales … whereas Potter won’t open in full-on IMAX for two weeks.

Caveat #2: Will families not support the film until the weekend? These are the questions that definitely haunt me, but the fact the film has been delayed about eight months already leads me to believe people are ready to see it.

We can assume Thursday’s numbers will be anywhere from 30 percent to half of Wednesday’s monster opening. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen‘s Wednesday opening of $62m represents almost complete saturation on the sold tickets front so there’s not a little of wiggle room to go up there. Where I think Potter thrives is on Thursday… and overall. We’re looking at a billion dollar (worldwide cume) film here, folks. If pressed I’d say $1.14b total, giving it second place on the old non-adjusted for inflation chart. The last one made $938m, and I believe this one is going to rock it.

I was $20m under on my previous Wednesday call, and I very well could be $20m over on this one, but we’re going for it anyway. Hold me to it, my Wed/Thurs prediction for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

Wednesday: $60.1m

Thursday: $34.7m

Total: $94.8m

If you feel you’ve got some additional knowledge how’s about you drop it on us in the comments section? Plenty of y’all are proficient at this so let me know where my logic has gone horribly wrong, or if, gasp, you sort of agree with me that this Potter this is going to be big.