Forbes: Harry Potter Box Office Records Not What They Seem
Forbes Magazine says that the box office numbers posted by the new Harry Potter movie should be taken with a grain of salt. Why? It opened on a massive 8,200 screens, most likely much higher than the previous record holder The Lost World (Jurassic Park 2). Also, average ticket prices are 17 percent higher than in 1997, when The Lost World debuted.
According to the article, "This is how massive conglomerates like AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal, Sony, and News Corp. release movies. Tons of screens at the opening, set a 'record,' advertise their success--the 'number one movie in America!'--and hope that everyone interested sees it before word-of-mouth spreads. Most of the record-setters and certainly seven of the top ten were forgotten within weeks of their initial release."