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‘Deathly Hallows’ Eyes Home Video Sales Bonanza

19 Jul, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2'

Potter franchise, which has been a cash cow to Warner Home Video, shouldn’t disappoint for the eighth time despite a downward sellthrough market

The home entertainment release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 from Warner Home Video sometime this fall is likely to continue the franchise’s storied retail history, according to a new research report.

The final chapter in the immensely successful film saga is projected to generate $150 million in initial Blu-ray Disc and DVD release revenue — about equal to what the title generated Warner Bros. during its opening weekend, according to IHS Screen Digest. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 collected $168 million in total opening box office — a percentage of which is kept by the theaters.

The first six films in the series — Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince — shipped an estimated 89 million video units in their initial releases to the U.S. retail market during the past eight years.

This single revenue source (discs) more than covered the total estimated production budget of $1.4 billion for the entire film series, which includes a preliminary budget estimate of $260 million for Deathly Hallows: Part 2, according to IHS Screen Digest.

“Beyond that initial video release, the ‘Harry Potter’ series will continue to sell to new generations of kids for decades to come,” said Jan Saxton, senior analyst, film entertainment with IHS. “It used to be that only Disney had such evergreens, a fact that prompted all the studios to jump into the animation business as the home video market developed.”

Saxton said the “Harry Potter” video sales would likely prove far more lucrative than those of other children’s franchises due to the fact there is the book, as well as merchandise and theme park support to help keep consumer interest alive.

“The real difference is that once a kid is hooked on the first book and begins to beg his parents for the movie, Warner gets that sale and almost inevitably, seven more soon thereafter.”

Sorcerer's Stone and Prisoner of Azkaban both exceeded their domestic box offices ($315 million and $249 million, respectively) in home video sales, according to IHS Screen Digest. Stone generated $331.6 million in retail sales and 22 million discs shipped. Azkaban generated $277.1 million and 16 million discs shipped.

The second film, Chamber of Secrets, tallied $227.3 million in retail sales (13.1 million discs shipped), compared with $262 million at the box office. Goblet of Fire generated $258.6 million (15 million discs shipped) at retail, compared with $282 million at the box office. Order of the Phoenix recorded $222 million (12.6 million discs) versus $290 million at the box office, while Half-Blood Prince recorded $164.1 million and 10.2 million discs, compared with a domestic box office total of $302 million.

Indeed, the only threat to Deathly Hallows home video sales not approximating theatrical sales is if domestic theatrical revenue exceeds $500 million, according to Saxton.

"Once a film reaches those exalted levels, it becomes hard for video sales to keep up," she said.

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