Most fans will flock to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend but die-hard fans hit theaters starting at midnight on Thursday. According to Exhibitor Relations those night-owls spent $24 million making the latest Harry Potter the franchise’s highest grossing for midnight shows. It beat Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by $2 million.
But it doesn’t set a midnight record. Two Twilight movies, Eclipse and New Moon, earned more.
Eclipse brought in $30 million and New Moon earned $26 million at midnight shows.
How is it possible that the most hyped movie of the year (see Harry Potter by the Numbers) failed to head out of the gate with better numbers than Twilight movies?
Well for one thing, the fans. The Twilight movies are specifically aimed at a demographic that can go to movies at midnight: older teens and young adults. Many Harry Potter fans needed to head to school Friday morning and older fans with children weren’t likely to look for babysitters to attend a midnight show.
Also the vampire-themed Twilight movies lend themselves to things like midnight showings. The magic in Harry Potter is less about what lurks in the dark than about what smart, motivated students can do with a little talent.
It will take another few days to see if New Moon can stay ahead of the new Harry Potter movie when it comes to opening weekend earnings. New Moon went on to earn an astounding $143 million its opening weekend making it the biggest opening of 2009. Harry Potter is on track to earn between $125 million and $135 million this weekend, according to Exhibitor Relations.