Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Harry Potter Effect

I was looking at the box office numbers from the weekend and was amazed to see that the debut of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" took the first place crown away from "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in its 2nd week. Adam Sandler has a huge following, so I certainly thought it would do well but conventional wisdom had picked Harry Potter in its second weekend, so this was a huge upset.

Normally, that first paragraph, is about as much time as I would take thinking about this topic, until I started reading the coverage about the release of the final book in the Harry Potter series. It appears, the release of the final installment Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had a dampening effect on the Box Office prospects of the "Order of the Phoenix", in fact:

"Deathly Hallows was so popular that Warner Bros. acknowledged it took away business from the Phoenix movie; fans were too busy.

"They wanted to get that book Saturday, lock themselves in the house and read it," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.' head of distribution.

Hype over the release of Deathly Hallows had just the previous week helped "Order of the Phoenix" to a Box Office record.

Here is the mind-numbing impact of one 4,000 page book:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
, the final volume of J.K. Rowling's seventh-book fantasy series, sold a mountainous 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours on sale in the United States, according to Scholastic Inc.

No other book, not even any of the six previous Potters, has been so desired, so quickly. Deathly Hallows averaged more than 300,000 copies in sales per hour - more than 5,000 a minute. The $34.99 book, even allowing for discounts, generated far more revenue than the opening weekend of the latest movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which came out this month.

"The excitement, anticipation and just plain hysteria that came over the entire country this weekend was a bit like the Beatles' first visit to the U.S.," Scholastic President Lisa Holton said in a statement Sunday.

"This weekend, kids and adults alike are sitting on buses, in the park, on airplanes and in restaurants reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The conversations the readers have been waiting to have for 10 years have just begun."

Those are amazing numbers and to have Warner Brothers acknowledge the impact the book had on the box office take of "Order of the Phoenix", is very interesting.

I wonder if the "Harry Potter Effect" had any impact on weekend Internet traffic. I would imagine it might even have been measurable; if you take several million internet users away from their computers for a day-and-a-half, it's bound to have some impact. I personally noticed lesser activity on my blog this past weekend and several sellers I spoke with said their Amazon and eBay sales were soft. I would imagine it has some effect.

Thanks for reading, we now return you to your regular blogging rants about eBay

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

A post that's not about eBay and is actually interesting too! :)

I think one impact of the book is shipping speed of whatever went out that weekend. UPS apparently was overloaded in some cases was telling the customer and Amazon that a delivery attempt was made when there was no such attempt. UPS likely did this to stay in good graces with Amazon and not have to refund

Interesting read about it on consumerist here:

http://valleywag.com/tech/e_commerce/i-can-confirm-that-ups-is-run-by-lying-muggles-281801.php

Randy Smythe said...

The Valleywag post is very interesting. Thanks for the tip. And yes I can occasionally write about something other than eBay, though it did have a little eBay in it.

Sue said...

Ah, I had a pretty good weekend - better than I'd've expected for that particular weekend. My theory is that I had a lot of mothers who were stuck inside watching their kids read books, who had nothing better to do than shop :-D

Randy Smythe said...

Sue, I'm not sure it really had a tremendous effect but I was tired of writing posts on eBay.