To no surprise Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 stomped Transformers: Dark of the Moon at the box office. Harry Potter took in a record breaking $168.55 million (including $1435M from midnight screenings) passing The Dark Knight ($158.4M) as the highest grossing weekend ever in North America. The result is DOTM suffered a 59% hit from the previous weekend taking in $39 million and passing Transformers I domestic total.
Overseas Harry Potter also squashed the competition taking in $307 million over the weekend easily passing the previous record holder of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger tides ($252M). The result it has made $475 million worldwide in just three days. By comparison, Dark of the Moon remains strong with an international total of $460M bringing the movies worldwide total to $762.8M after three weeks of release. At this point I will be really surprised if Transformers 3 doesn't cross the $1 billion threshold, the only question is will it do it before or after Harry Potter 8.
On a related note, here is a quick mini-review of Harry Potter. It is basically the opposite of Dark of the Moon to a degree. DOTM focused purely on the visuals and special effects to the detriment of character and story. Harry Potter focuses on the characters and the story to the detriment of visual resulting in the Battle of Hogwarts and the supporting characters taking more of a backseat then was necessary for a story broken into two parts. Having said that, the film is very entertaining and worth seeing for any fan of Harry Potter. 4/5 stars.
A word of warning - do not see Potter in 3D. For one thing it is fake 3D using post production conversion. Even if the conversion is perfect, the film has a dark palette in color choices. The result is dark colors plus the 3D sunglasses effect results in a poor visual experience. The reason Avatar worked is James Cameron made sure to make a palette choice of blue skies, bright lights and bright colors so it mitigated the sunglasses effect. Just something to pay attention to when deciding to pay that extra money on 3D or not for upcoming movies.
Update: Only one blog post and people turn on you huh? Seems doesn't take ...well anything considering box office numbers are good for about a day or two of bragging at most. Especially when this was predicted weeks ago, with only the amount being the question. Figure it’s the vocal minority considering the volume of anonymous posts. Any case, like it or not, how well Harry Potter 7 does is relevant to how well Transformers 3 does. Make no mistake, these two movies are directly competing against each for box office champ and to become the next movie to cross the billion dollar threshold. When Harry Potter 8 comes out swing with nearly half a billion worldwide total in just three days, not only does that deserve a hat tip for simply being rare and remarkable, but it also means DOTM takes a corresponding hit in ticket sales that could affect its chances of crossing a billion. In short, how well HP7 does reflects on whether or not DOTM continues to do well.
Tying into that is perception of the movies, thus the mini review as I found them to be a study in contrast. Those contracts could also impact sales as how people think about a film increases or decreases word of mouth and the repeat business critical to making a billion dollars. While I think DOTM missed the boat in character and story, I also think Harry Potter 8 missed a chance with spectacle by essentially glossing over much of the Battle of Hogwarts to focus on character and story. Add this to the mistake of post-production fake 3D (compared to DOTM's Real 3D) and I could see this resulting in a decrease in repeat business (which could go in TF3 favor). The net results all this combines into an unpredictable mess to determine who the box office champ will be.
I guess I could have spelled this out in the initial post but I thought the previous weeks had already set up that these movies would be competing against each other. I also thought it was known that Harry Potter 8 would come out strong but be too early to know if it had legs for the coming weeks. The net result is all this is just speculation that is too early to back up with anything substantial. So despite these last few paragraphs what we know remains the same - HP8's first weekend was outstanding, TF3 lost ground and both are on track to pass a billion we just don't know which will do it first. Only now it took a page to write that instead of a few paragraphs.