Will Harry Potter Fail to Live Up to Record Hype?

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    UPDATE: The final Harry Potter has become the first Harry Potter to gross $1 billion worldwide, Warner Bros. announced Sunday. So, like we say below, it's good to be the boy who lived.


    Two short weeks ago, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was the biggest box-office thing ever in Hollywood.

    Now, it's getting beat by Captain America.

    Is the wizard out of magic—and so soon?

    RELATED: Will this be Emma Watson's first post-Potter movie?


    Deathly Hallows: Part 2 just became the first movie to break $900 million after only 15 days in theaters worldwide, Box Office Mojo reported. (The film opened in some foreign countries on July 13.) It's already the Earth's 19th-biggest-ever grosser.

    But, domestically, Harry Potter's wand has indeed lost its zip—and lost it fast. 

    On these shores, HP8 was at about $298 million through Wednesday. At the same point in its runs, The Dark Knight, which Deathly Hallows: Part 2 blew past to take the opening-weekend record, was at $342.7 million.

    How did Harry Potter blow such a big lead?

    "Even a huge franchise like this has a ceiling, and the base hasn't expanded that much," Phil Contrino said via email.

    In other words, Potter fans here rushed to see the franchise's final film the first second (read: weekend) they got, and then after that… Well, let's just say, Twilight fans could tell Potter fans that ginormous debuts don't mean Avatar-toppling runs.

    Speaking of the all-time box-office champ…

    "[Deathly Hallows: Part 2] doesn't have a shot at Avatar's record," Contrino said.

    And no one ever thought it did because Avatar is Avatar: one of those flukes and/or James Cameron movies. (For what it's worth, HP8 is currently running ahead of Avatar's pace.)

    Of course, with Deathly Hallows: Part 2 long expected to gross $1 billion worldwide, it's good to be Harry Potter, too.

    (Originally published July 30, 2011, at 11 a.m. PT)

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