If Hollywood uses numbers to articulate success, then Warners Bros.’ official tally for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” makes quite a statement.
The dizzying record total for “Harry” came in at $90,294,621. That may have been $3 million less than was estimated on Sunday, but it conveniently wound up a smidgen ahead of the four-day mark for Universal’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” which did $90,161,880 over the four-day Memorial Day span in 1997.
In raw terms, Warners’ Sunday exaggeration seemed sizable, but in percentage terms it was not. The average was roughly 3%, which is in line with Sunday-to-Monday differentials for the past 10 weeks.
Friday’s final tally was down slightly to $32.3 million from the original estimate, Saturday gained nearly $2 million to $33.5 million — the best single day in history — and Sunday’s numbers declined from $29 million to $24.4 million.
Warners distrib topper Dan Fellman said numbers for late Sunday shows did not match earlier expectations, but added, “I’m so happy with how we did. It sounds corny, but I really feel that ‘Harry Potter’ was our gift to America, just giving people a reason to go out and have fun.”
Most other distribs got caught with lofty Sunday estimates. The differences didn’t mean much — Disney, for example, suffered a 50% drop on “Monsters, Inc.,” instead of 49%.
Leading box office tracking service ACNielsen EDI captured roughly 2,600 playdates out of “Harry’s” industry-record 3,672, according to rival distribs. That left the customary “missing factor,” which distrib execs routinely calculate to come up with a total extrapolated gross.
Given the “80-20 rule,” which holds that 80% of the gross comes from 20% of the theaters, any theater tallies which proved difficult to track down likely wouldn’t affect the weekend number a great deal.