Harry Potter Films Losing Millions of Dollars?

The report today is that the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) has lost $165 million despite being one of the top 10 grossing films in history on earnings close to a billion dollars.

Is this an illustration of life-imitating-art? Does this story come from the pen of Rita Skeeter, a journalist writing what the public wants to hear or, more often, what the power-holders want us to believe? Or is it Quibbler tabloid fare, the nonsense and sensational man-bites-dog hooey we expect from Fleet Street? I asked Janet Batchler, resident Film Industry expert, author of What Will Harry Do?, and Screen Writing professor at USC, what she thought.

Janet’s response to my “Say it Ain’t So!” query was right to the point:

Of course it lost money.  Every Hollywood movie loses money, because if they made money, the studio would have to pay out profits.  Take my own movie, BATMAN FOREVER.  It was made for $85 million, it made over $700 million worldwide in its theatrical release, it’s made over a billion dollars so far… and it’s still not in profits.

They say the most creative people in Hollywood are the accountants.  That’s why.

So, it’s a Rita Skeeter special, folks. No need to send relief money to Warner Brothers for fear that they’ll shelve the last Harry Potter movies in order to avoid bankruptcy. They’re not as hard up as The Daily Prophet suggests.


  1. But… but Mr. Bialystock promised me 50% of the profits!

  2. Generally speaking a tiny percentage of the gross is worth a lot more than a larger percentage of the net.

    Alex Guiness said he was forever grateful to whoever advised him to ask for something like a quarter percent of the first Star Wars gross!

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