The HD-DVD release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix offers a revolutionary new DVD feature called “Live Community Screening”:
Gather your own army of fellow wizards for a live community screening party. Invite other owners of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix HD DVD to simultaneously watch from their own internet-accessed players and text with your remote, PC or cell phone. When you host an invitation-only viewing, you control the film by pausing and playing the feature on everyone’s machine. You can chat live with your friends as you watch.
But the question is, will anybody actually use this feature? It requires all parties to own the HD-DVD disc, and a HD-DVD player with internet access features.
Meanwhile, Transformers director Michael Bay is at it again, this time he is spouting off conspiracy theories about how Microsoft is trying to sabotage the High Definition DVD format war:
“What you don’t understand is corporate politics. Microsoft wants both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads. That is the dirty secret no one is talking about. That is why Microsoft is handing out $100 million dollar checks to studios just embrace the HD DVD and not the leading, and superior Blu Ray. They want confusion in the market until they perfect the digital downloads. Time will tell and you will see the truth.”
I don’t think Bay is seeing the big picture. Microsoft has more to gain from the success of HD-DVD than they do digital downloads (but the truth of the matter is they have much to gain from both). I do believe that this format war will have no winner, and digital downloads and on demand will triumph.
So what do you guys think:
- Would you use the “Live Community Screening” feature?
- Is Microsoft trying to sabotage the HD format wars?
Last year we wrote an article on how we wished that movie studios didn’t force us buy a movie in 5 different formats. I have a library of thousands of DVDs, which I now must re-buy in HD-DVD or Blu-ray, in addition to spending hours encoding them for my iPod video or iPhone or plunking down another $15 for a small extra-less digital version on iTunes. I suggested that with all this new found room on the next generation HD formats, why not include a small digital version that consumers could put on their portable video devices. And now Warner Bros Video has announced that are doing just that, but on the regular ol’ fashion DVD.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be the first DVD to come bundled with multiple video formats on a single disk. However, there has been no word on whether the video will have some kind of DRM. Warner has traditionally resisted unprotcted media, so we expect them to have some restrictions. If they use DRM embedded into Windows Media Video, this could lock out non-Windows users and the whole iPod market. It’s a great idea, let’s just see if they execute it right.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hits DVD store shelves on December 11th.
HARRY POTTER & THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (Warner Bros) continued its strong run at the box office on Friday grabbing an estimated $26.5M, bringing its 3-day cume to just shy of $90M. That should put HP5 right at $80M for the traditional Fri thru Sun 3-day weekend, and it will give ORDER OF THE PHOENIX the biggest 5-day opening in the history of the franchise with an estimated $142.6M.
The second weekend of Michael Bay’s mega-hit TRANSFORMERS (Dreamworks/Paramount) is starting off with a solid $10.5M estimate for Friday. Early Saturday, Optimus Prime will fly past $200M domestic, and my studio sources are pointing to a $34M weekend, down just 52% from it’s opening 3-day. Remy and company has added another $5.5M Friday as Pixar’s RATATOUILLE tops the $130M mark. I’m expecting a weekend take of $17.2M for the critically-acclaimed animated film distributed by Disney, down only 41%. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (Fox) looks to be just under $3M to start the weekend, and, by Monday, the latest John McClane action pic will have banked a $9.65M 3-day and climbed past the $100M threshold. The Warner Bros misfire LICENSE TO WED added just $2.2M on Friday, and it will struggle to only $6.9M on its 2nd weekend.
For Friday and 3-Day Estimates for the top 14 films, you can visit FantasyMoguls.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the new all-time Wednesday box office champion, topping Spider-Man 2‘s $40.4M. The opening day estimate, however, sailed past my target range of $39M-$42M. HP5 is in the stratosphere with a breathtaking estimated $44.3M to start its domestic run. Harry’s record-breaking day started off Tuesday night/Wednesday morning at 12:01a with a staggering $12M. That’s double the midnight take for 2005’s Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire. Then it was sellouts and near-capacity houses all day long. Read more at FantasyMoguls.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is tracking to take $128 million in the first five days of release. Looking at the 5 major 2007 summer sequels I’ve calculated a formula to redict the success of the latest Potter. Using Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3, Pirates 3, Ocean’s Thirteen and Fantastic Four 2, there’s a clear pattern here. 3 of the 5 sequels opened bigger than the previous installment, and the there 2 were down only slightly. Meanwhile, the cume is down drastically for all 5. In fact, on average, this summer’s sequels have opening weekends 7% higher than the previous films in the franchise, but their total domestic take is down an average of 20%.
If we plug in those percentages for the first 5 days of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it translates to an opening 5 days of $128M and a cume of $255M domestic. These numbers look about right to me. Here’s how I see Potter 5 penciling out on its opening 5 days.
- Wednesday, 7/11 – $32.5M (including Tuesday Midnight shows)
- Thursday, 7/12 – $19.5M
- Friday, 7/13 – $26.2M
- Saturday, 7/14 – $27.9M
- Sunday (7/15) – $21.9M
- Opening 5-Day Gross – $128M
- Friday thru Sunday – $76M
Those would be fantastic numbers, and this would easily become the best opening 5 days of any of the movies in the HP franchise. Read more at FantasyMoguls.com.
The Harry Potter series has grown on me. I remember attending the first movie wondering what the big deal was. I half dismissed it, but was there opening night for the sequel. I’ve since read all the books (or rather, listened to them on audiobook/ipod, which I highly recommend), I own all the DVDs, and I even wear a Prisoner of Azkaban t-shirt on occasion. I’m not one of those obsessed Harry Potter fanatics, but I’m also not what could be considered an occasional or recreational fan. I’ve seen the trailer for Order of the Phoenix more times than you can count on your two hands. But enough about me. The point is that I enter the Harry Potter films with high expectations.
And the Potter film series has improved since Chris Columbus first two films. Alfanso Curon’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is arguably the best in the series, followed shortly by Mike Newell’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Two great films by two great directors. So it worried me greatly that the next film was handed over to David Yates, a guy whose imdb resume included a bunch of British television shows and miniseries, and not much else. But fear not my friends, Yates knocks this one home. I was really happy to see Yates play off of the extended sweeping camera shots which Curon introduced in Azkaban. The special effects have also vastly improved over the course of the series.
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Â In a summer full of big blockbuster movies, adaptations, sequels and threequels, you would think that Hollywood would have made some record scratch. Not so! According to the AP, attendance is running behind last summer’s and has even fallen below that of the summer of 2005. According to Media By Numbers, 279 million tickets had been sold thus far compared with 315 million at this same point in 2002.Â But this is not what was supposed to happen. Industry analysts predicted the first $4 billion summer in history,Â but we’re at the midway point and it’s not looking probable. As of this past weekend, Hollywood has made $1.9 billion since the first weekend in May. And $945 million of that number comes from just three movies (Pirates 3, Spider-Man 3, and Shrek the Third).
And there are a few biggies waiting in the bull pen: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Ultimatum, Rush Hour 3, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, The Simpsons Movie and Hairspray. But as you might notice, most of them are medium sized majors, not on the same level with a Spider-Man 3. Potter is likely to make $300 million domestically, but the rest probably won’t come close.
May-be the problem is that none of the huge releases really connected with the audiences. Most of the films resulted with bad reviews and bad word of mouth. And the good flicks (Ratatouille, Once, Sicko) got buried in the mix.
A 13 minute video of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix aired on HBO last night and is now available on GoogleVideo. The preview contains a bunch of new footage inter-cut with the usual cast and crew interviews. Check it out after the jump. Although, I must warn you, they reveal a lot about the plot of the film. So if you haven’t read the book, or want to be surprised, I would stay away.
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According to a report in The Daily Mail (ie, we can’t completely trust this information), Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is being paid $50 million for the final two Harry Potter films (Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows). Of course this number is before tax, commission, and agents and manger fees, but who cares – that’s a lot of cash for a young actor. In perspective, Radcliffe made less than $29 million for the first four films combined. So a $25 million pay day per film for the last two films is a huge jump in pay-grade. The actor only made $250,000 for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, $3 million for Chamber of Secrets, $11 million for Goblet of Fire, and $14 million for the upcoming Order of the Phoenix.
But interestingly enough, this still doesn’t put Radcliffe on the highest paid actors list. Keanu Reeves was paid an estimated $160 million for The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions due to a deal that gave him 15% of the gross. Bruce Willis also took in over $100 million on The Sixth Sense with the same type of deal.
The London Times has published the first review of Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix. Leo Lewis calls the film:
“a solid, occasionally spectacular set-piece that struggles unsuccessfully to give us thrills and fun we have not already had in previous installments.”
That doesn’t sound very positive, does it? This is too bad, I’ve been really looking forward to this one. Lewis goes on to write:
“overall there is a shortage of those joyful little glimpses of the wizarding world’s furniture that punctuated and perked up the previous films.”
You can read the whole review now at the TimesOnline.co.uk.