[Intro music plays]
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["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you enjoyed - Dobby! Dobby, come here! Here! Dobby! [as Dobby] Yes, I'd just like to say how very pleased I am to introduce MuggleCast to all of you! Thank you! Thank you!
[Show music begins]
Micah: Because Warner Bros. finally, finally, finally released Half-Blood Prince, this is MuggleCast Episode 177 for July 30, 2009.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome back to MuggleCast, everybody! We're here for our 177th episode. That's kind of lucky, right? Two sevens.
Mikey: That's like double magical.
Andrew: We'll never reach 777, so...
Laura: Well, you never know.
Andrew: [laughs] We'll have to do - I don't know, maybe for fun we can jump 600 episodes.
Laura: We'll be forty but we could do it.
Matt: [imitating an old man's voice] Welcome to MuggleCast...
Matt: What episode is this?
Laura: MuggleCast, the Nursing Home Edition.
Andrew: It's been a while since we've had a recorded home-grown episode, but we're so happy to be back and we've got Laura here, Micah, Matt and Mikey along with me.
Matt: Hi, guys.
Laura: Hey, Andrew.
Micah: [in nerd voice] Hi, Andrew.
Laura and Mikey: Hey.
Andrew: [In nerd voice] Yay! Podcasting! And this is our first recorded regular episode since the movie release. Thank you for bearing with us as you waited two weeks for us to get this one out. But we have a lot to discuss, of course, with the movie. We still haven't heard Matt and Laura - Matt and Micah's thoughts and Mikey's thoughts, too.
Andrew: Yeah. Sorry, I get confused. You three are like Matt, Micah and Mikey - it's just...
Matt: Yeah, I know - that's amazing.
Mikey: But you know what, Matt? Me and Micah have "M-I", you're "M-A".
Mikey: You're the odd one out.
Laura: So, you're out of the club.
Andrew: So he wins.
Mikey: You're out of our club. You're out of our club, Matt.
Matt: But alphabetically, I'm in front of you two, so doesn't that make me better?
Andrew: Oh. Ah yeah, I agree.
Matt: Yeah. No, I'm the odd man out, I guess.
Mikey: You want to be as cool as us!
Matt: Yeah, can't we just call me Mitt?
Mikey: Mitt, Mitty?
Andrew: All right. All right, girls, you're both losers because your name starts with an "M" and I am the winner with "A", so let's move on. Let's get into the show. I'm Andrew Sims.
Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.
Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Matt: I'm Matt Britton.
Mikey: And I'm Mikey B.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: All right, Micah. We know the big news, of course, is the release of Half-Blood Prince, but has there been any other news to discuss besides that? Before we spend the entire episode on that.
Micah: Yeah. I mean, there's obviously news going on right now because the movie was just released.
Micah: A couple weeks ago. But let's talk I guess, a little bit about the numbers that are out there, and according to the most recent numbers that I was able to find, it says that Half-Blood Prince has now made $222 million here in the United States, which is $14 million ahead of where Order of the Phoenix was twelve days after its release. And it's made an additional $405 million internationally, bringing the worldwide total to $627 million.
Andrew: Wow, pretty impressive! How does that compare to Order of the Phoenix?
Micah: That I don't know, as far as total is concerned.
Mikey: Give me a second, I'll pull it up. There's a website that I love called BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Andrew: That's a great site.
Matt: I love BoxOfficeMojo.
Andrew: It's interesting. I mean, a lot of people were thinking, well, is Half-Blood Prince going to make more money because of the delay? You know, there's more hype, there's more build-up. But it doesn't seem like that happened. Could it be because of IMAX being delayed? It's just coming out today, the day we're recording, this Wednesday.
Andrew: But do you think that's going to really spike sales?
Laura: I don't...
Matt: I don't know.
Laura: ...think so.
Andrew: Really, Laura?
Mikey: I know I'm going back again, like, two weeks later.
Laura: Yeah, I mean...
Andrew: Me too.
Laura: I definitely will, too.
Mikey: Normally I would see it a bunch.
Laura: But I guess I'm just thinking about the earlier films, where there wasn't IMAX and the sales were really good. I mean, obviously the sales have improved each time.
Laura: I don't know. Most people don't seem very impressed with going to pay $12 to see a movie that has, like, twenty minutes of IMAX footage in it, you know?
Micah: Well that's almost what a regular ticket costs, too, so, I mean, what's the difference?
Matt: Well, no, I think it's a...
Laura: Well depending on where you live. [laughs]
Matt: Yeah, it's a little bit more.
Andrew: Right. But what are the numbers, Mikey?
Mikey: Well, opening weekend in general for Half-Blood Prince was $77,835 - or $77,835,727. Opening weekend for Order of the Phoenix was $77,108,414.
Mikey: And I did a little on the calculator; it's only $727,313 more than Half-Blood Prince made...
Mikey: Opening weekend. Now, again, that's just opening weekend stats.
Andrew: That's surprising. So I guess what that says is really that the fandom hasn't changed a bit.
Mikey: Order of the Phoenix also opened up in 4,285 theaters, whereas Half-Blood Prince actually opened up in more with 4,325 theaters. So...
Mikey: So it opened up in more theaters and that makes sense, but again, you'd think that they would make more money with that...
Mikey: ...couple hundred theaters - or a hundred theaters more.
Andrew: So what it sort of says is that the film sort of still has the same amount of fans. It hasn't grown, it hasn't shrunk. So...
Andrew: Even with - I mean, the big thing with Order of the Phoenix was that there was that book coming out right after.
Matt: Yeah, that was a big summer for Harry Potter.
Micah: But twelve days into it, though, they're saying that Half-Blood Prince has pulled out front by fourteen million. So that's a little bit different in terms of what - opening weekend is what Mikey just said, but now that...
Micah: ...more updated statistics are saying that it's pulled out a little bit further.
Mikey: Yeah, at the two-week out it's definitely further ahead because if you look at the domestic total, like, we're almost to the complete domestic total in the U.S. of what Order of the Phoenix made.
Mikey: And we're only two weeks in with today being the release of the IMAX, which I can't imagine you being a fan and not wanting to go see IMAX just because it's a completely different experience.
Andrew: I didn't...
Mikey: It's just awesome, I love IMAX.
Andrew: I didn't see IMAX with Order of the Phoenix, but it was sort of because I wasn't too happy with the film, but this film I love. But let me ask you guys about G-Force; this stupid hamster movie...
Andrew: It beat Half-Blood Prince the second weekend. This past weekend G-Force pulled in a few million more than Half-Blood Prince, and that blew me away.
Andrew: How could Half-Blood Prince not outperform better than stupid spy hamsters its second week in theaters?
[Matt and Laura laugh]
Mikey: You know that actually doesn't surprise me simply because if you look at the drop-off, we just quoted opening weekend with seventy-seven million dollars, right? The drop-off was drastic, you know, the second weekend. It went to like - what was it? - fifty? I'm trying to find the numbers real quick for the second weekend when Half-Blood Prince pulled in...
Micah: I think it was around 30.
Mikey: Yeah, it was like 30. It was a drastic drop-off. Now you've got to remember that the core fans, or a lot - well not the core fans - but a big chunk of Half-Blood Prince's fans are in the same viewing audience as what G-Force is. Now...
Mikey: We're a little bit older so - well think about it; all the moms and their little kids want to go see Harry Potter...
Matt: Well, yeah....
Mikey: ...we're a little bit older, and yes, we're older and G-Force is not as appealing to us, but a good chunk of the people that went and saw Harry Potter the first weekend, now want to go see a movie again, they're not going to see Harry Potter again. They're going to see G-Force.
Mikey: So G-Force definitely has a lot of people coming to it.
Mikey: And, of course, I don't know about your theater, but I know G-Force was a preview in my theater saying, "Opening next weekend." So, again, you saw...
Mikey: ...Harry Potter the weekend before and now you know these cool hamsters are coming out next weekend, and you want to have your mom take you.
Andrew: They're not cool. They are not cool.
Micah: I don't know what it says about us, though, because while G-Force took the box office here, over in England, Half-Blood Prince stayed up at the top. So...
Micah: ...I guess...
Andrew: See, Americans...
Laura: Well, see...
Micah: ...we don't know...
Andrew: ...are so inundated with crap...
Laura: Yeah. See this...
Laura: ...is the country...
Andrew: ...they'll go for...
Andrew: ...hamster movies.
Laura: ...that Beverly Hills Chihuahua movie, like, number one...
Laura: ...for some ridiculous...
Laura: ...amount of time?
Andrew: Well, they picked a weekend that didn't have much competition. [laughs] I hope Harry Potter would have beaten Beverly Hills Chihuahua in its whole week.
Laura: Well, you never know. [laughs] It just got beaten by spy hamsters.
Andrew: Oh, I know. I hear you.
Matt: It's so...
Andrew: I don't...
Matt: Well, Flo Rida was in this - in the movie too. He was singing.
Laura: [laughs] Oh.
Andrew: Where did you hear that?
Matt: They - that...
Laura: ...there you go.
Matt: ...contributed to it.
Laura: That answers it.
Andrew: Well, let's move on from that. We get it. Half-Blood Prince was a great success. What else is going on, Micah?
Micah: Well, kind of along the lines of Half-Blood Prince, there was an article done by the New York Times talking about drinking in the movie and its impact - or potential impact I guess that it can have, on children that are underage that are going to see it. And there are a couple of scenes that were mentioned and I think the first one was actually put in by the director. I don't remember in the book itself Hermione being tipsy after their trip to Hogsmeade. But there was Hagrid, obviously. He passed out in the hut when Harry and Slughorn are visiting with him after Aragog's death. And then also the poisoned mead that Ron drinks. So...
Micah: ...a couple of instances of alcohol in the movie. But to me when I was watching the movie, that really didn't strike me at all. I didn't really think much about it. But I guess mothers who are taking their children have a little bit different opinion.
Andrew: And there were some moms quoted in this article, right?
Micah: Yeah. One mother, Liz Perle, who is a mom of two teenage boys, said that, "She was bothered by so many scenes showing alcohol as a coping mechanism."
Laura: Oh my God.
Matt: Isn't that what...
Laura: Give me...
Mikey: She's Laura Mallory.
Laura: ...a break.
Matt: Isn't that what alcohol...
Matt: ...is, though?
Andrew: Laura, why does that send you off?
Laura: Okay. Because people - I think again this is just an instance of somebody taking this issue and trying to put it up on a pedestal. And making a big deal...
Mikey: I agree.
Laura: ...out of it because it's in something that's mainstream. They're just trying to get attention.
Laura: It's the same case with Laura Mallory. What they're not considering is, of course, the story is based out of England. And unfortunately for us, we're the...
Laura: We're the...
Mikey: Thank you.
Laura: Yeah. We're the only country on this planet that has such a taboo kind of outlook towards alcohol. Everybody else kind of just use it as a casual thing. Like, let's go and have a drink.
Andrew: Good point.
Laura: No, no. Not us. We aren't fun.
Andrew: Although I got to say, it was kind of surprising when you see Hermione looking a little drunk [laughs] coming out of The Three Broomsticks. I mean, that made me laugh a bit.
Laura: I thought it was funny, but it...
Matt: I thought it was cute!
Laura: ...didn't bother me.
Andrew: It was funny, but surprising. But what, Laura?
Laura: I said it didn't bother me. Like, I...
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Laura: I don't know. I don't get these people.
Andrew: I agree.
Micah: I mean, let's not...
Micah: ...even focus on the violence of the film. Let's focus on the fact that, you know, there's a little bit of alcohol here and there. But there was another quote that I think sums it up a lot better. And this woman said: "I think the alcohol angle washed over me because of the magical context of the film. This isn't a real school, real teachers or real students, so it's almost like the drinking isn't real. I wonder..."
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Micah: "I wonder how many kids even know what mead is."
Andrew: That's true.
Andrew: That's true. And it's not, like, the stuff was that - it wasn't that obvious. Like, when Hagrid falls backwards and hits his head, he could just be tired and falling asleep.
Andrew: And Hermione didn't come off too drunk. So it wasn't too over the top. I agree with Laura. They're trying to get attention. We weren't even sure if to post this on MuggleNet. I mean, if this was from, like, a tabloid or something, we wouldn't have. But the fact that it was from the New York Times and - you know, they're not perfect, but...
Laura: I think it goes to show...
Laura: ...that they were having a slow news day.
Matt: Yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Micah: Yeah. I agree.
Andrew: What else is going on, Micah?
Micah: Well, a recent article by Baylor University asks if Harry Potter may have a negative impact on newspapers and journalism. And one of the quotes from the article says, "The books present an unnecessarily pessimistic view of journalism today. Since literature can play an important role in helping children learn and possibly empathize with situations experienced by the characters, the potential for influence on journalism is strong." And I assume that it's referring to Rita Skeeter...
Micah: ...and The Daily Prophet.
Andrew: And also - yeah. It also talks about the stuff with the Ministry. It says, "The analysis finds" - The analysis, the study they did, "...finds an overwhelmingly negative representation of journalism throughout the first six books, raising concerns that child readers will view journalism as corrupt, deceptive and an unattractive career choice." So yeah, it does focus on Rita Skeeter, and I think a little bit on the Ministry too.
Andrew: ...controlling the Daily Prophet, so what do you guys think about this? I mean this is a really interesting study, I thought, from Baylor University. Laura, do you have any opinions on this? Do you think it negatively affects journalism?
Laura: No. I think journalism negati - [stumbles] negatively affects journalism.
[Andrew, Laura and Matt laugh]
Andrew: But you could argue that if kids who aren't very aware of journalism look at this or read the books and...
Mikey: This is the same thing as before with the drinking. It really is.
Mikey: And they're taking one aspect - and same thing with the Dumbledore being gay issue. You can take any aspect of any book - not just Harry Potter and say, "Oh, it casts a bad light on whatever."
Matt: Yeah, they're just...
Matt: ...doing it for Harry Potter because it's a really popular series.
Andrew: Yeah, I...
Mikey: And its popular right now because the movie just came out.
Andrew: I still did find it interesting. I don't know.
Andrew: Let me get Laura back in. Go ahead, Micah.
Micah: I think though too, you have to remember that the story's coming from one individual's perspective and a lot of times its how that person is being perceived by the newspaper and...
Micah: ...if you notice, there are a number of characters in the series that agree with what's being said in the newspaper about what's going on and we've done shows in the past too where we've talked about media corruption, government corruption, which is stressed very, very strongly - even J.K. Rowling has said so in this books. I mean she's making a point about how the media can act at times and how the government can act at times and they're very strong suggestions, just like any other themes that are in the books.
Andrew: All right, well enough with the studies. Enlighten us with some other news please, some news that Laura won't get angry about.
Micah: Okay, I can't promise that she's not going to get angry about this.
Micah: But one of the other stories, non-Half-Blood Prince related - the Ultimate Collector's Edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are now available for pre-order on Amazon and now the online store has revealed the Blu-ray and standard DVD covers.
Micah: You asked the question, Andrew, is this a little bit too early?
Andrew: I like - yeah - I - this - I don't know, I mean we know now and David Heyman said at the premiere that they're going to be doing some Ultimate Collector's Edition once all eight films are out. But I just think it's a little early to be releasing Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets Ultimate Collector's Edition. I mean, yeah, it's been almost ten years but like can't you guys see them releasing like Super Mega Ultra Super Plus Plus Plus...
Andrew: ...Editions like another ten years from now?
Matt: Why would they call it the Ultimate Collection if they're not all out yet? Wouldn't the 'ultimate' signify that all of them have to be out together?
Andrew: Well the ultimate of each one of these films.
Mikey: Yeah this is the Ultimate Can't-Get-Any-Better Collector's Edition DVD.
Andrew: Yeah and you know they're going to re-release these!
Laura: Oh yeah.
Andrew: They're going to be doing like a 10th anniversary edition.
Mikey: I'm waiting for the 20th anniversary special edition version just like Star Wars where they're going to go in, add new songs, new dance things. It's really - it's going to be just like the Star Wars saga.
Mikey: They're going to have all these different versions and then they're going to release - you know, fifteen years later they're going to release the definitive, re-mastered, perfect edition and that's the one you're going to want to get.
Mikey: But are you really going to wait fifteen years for the whole thing to be done and everything to get it? No.
Mikey: You're going to buy it as you go and maybe, you know - I know I had all the Star Wars movies on VHS tapes and everything and finally when they came out on DVD - I have three different DVD copies of it. And same thing with Harry Potter, I have two copies of a couple of my favourite ones on DVD and I have a couple Blu-ray versions too. So you're going to end up buying multiple copies, just like how I have multiple copies of the books. So...
Andrew: It's got to have a lot of stuff on it because it retails for fifty dollars and Amazon has it for sale at thirty-five but...
Micah: That's a lot.
Andrew: ...fifty dollars I mean - yeah, that's not a standard Blu-ray price.
Andrew: So I'm wondering what the hell is also going to be on this.
Matt: Well do you think it might be like what they're doing now with a DVD, Blu-ray and a digital copy? Plus like something else?
Andrew: Maybe. Yeah. What it says right on the cover of Year 1 - the Year 1 box, it says, "Includes 'Creating the World.'" So maybe new interviews about creating the Great Hall and all that? Who knows? If it's new interviews that would make it worth it. But...
Micah: I know we said it didn't have anything to do with Half-Blood Prince but could they be releasing these now because there's the hype surrounding the movie?
Andrew: Probably, I mean these aren't even out yet though.
Andrew: And they don't have set dates, we just have covers so - who knows what's going on here?
Matt: I do like the design of the covers too.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah yeah, I do like how they're all like they have the big number "Year 1," "Year 2."
Mikey: Yeah and I like the color scheme where it's blue and then red. I want to see what the next one has.
Andrew: Yeah, and the disc - the Chamber of Secrets cover says, "Includes 'Creating the Characters.'" So Year One has, "Creating the World," Year Two has, "Creating the Characters," Year Three will have, "Creating the Random Stuff Alfonso Comes Up With," possibly?
[Laura and Matt laugh]
Matt: "Creating the Stuff."
Andrew: Year Four will have, "Creating the Director We Really Didn't Like."
Laura: Yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: "Why We Chose Him." How exciting. I can't wait to see those. [laughs] Okay, Micah, what else? Out with it already. Come on.
Micah: All right, Wizarding World of Harry Potter update. We got some news today from down in Orlando.
Micah: A sleuth named Laura Thompson...
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Micah: ...over at the...
Laura: Oh, really?
Micah: ...highway central message boards has unearthed a dozen recent trademark applications made by Warner Bros. Entertainment that appear to be for rides, shops and restaurants that will be part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, Orlando. And we got a bunch of those names. Some of them not surprising, others a little bit interesting. Do you want to go through those names?
Andrew: Yeah, give us a preview. What are we going to be calling these things?
Micah: The rides supposedly are, "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey"...
[Andrew, Laura, and Matt laugh]
Laura: That's original.
Matt: It sounds like an Indiana Jones movie.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Maybe that's just a place - I have a feeling that one's just a placeholder. They couldn't name it something that corny.
Mikey: Oh, come on.
Micah: Well they think that's going to take place in the castle itself. Yeah.
Laura: Oh my God.
Micah: All right. "Flight of the Hippogriff."
Andrew: Eh, okay.
Matt: That sounds like a roller coaster.
Micah: And "Dragon Challenge"...
Andrew: "Dragon Challenge"?
Micah: ...which they think is going to be a roller coaster.
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Matt: The Dragon Challenge?
Andrew: There's already an existing ride - Laura, I think you've talked about this before...
Andrew: ...the Duelling Dragons ride?
Andrew: And they're just going to re-theme it.
Laura: Yeah, pretty much. They already have two giant dragons built outside of it, too. So I think...
Micah: So what...
Andrew: Is it a good ride?
Laura: It is a really good ride. It is good, so...
Micah: Are we thinking they're going to take the dragons from Goblet of Fire and use them...
Laura: I think they might just...
Micah: ...for this ride?
Laura: ...remodel the ones they have to make the look more Harry Potter-ish.
Matt: Do you think like the Flight of the Hippogriff might be like the Flying Dumbo ride at Disneyland?
Laura: Well, that's what I'm thinking because...
Mikey: I hope so.
Laura: There's actually like in that section of the park, there's a kids' roller coaster called the Flying Unicorn...
Laura: ...so when you said that, that's what I thought of.
Laura: I was like, "Aw, man. Seriously?" [laughs]
Mikey: No, I hope it is. That would be so much fun. Can you imagine like climbing...
Mikey: ...into a little Hippogriff and going around? Like, I really want it to be just like Dumbo where you can go up and down. It'd be so much fun! [laughs]
Andrew: I want thrill rides.
Mikey: Yeah, but I want rides where I can take photos and goof off and have fun. I think the Flight of the Hippogriff, which is my Dumbo with Buckbeak. That would be awesome.
Laura: I think as long as they sell shirts that say, "I survived the Flight of the Hippogriff," that would be okay.
Mikey: That would be so awesome! Come on, if it's like Dumbo, I survived this crazy, crazy ride.
Matt: Ah, man. I think I'm kind of with Andrew. I'd rather be in this kind of plastic Hippogriff and then fall - like free falling like 500 feet with a Hippogriff. Or maybe...
Andrew: Yeah, like Tower of Terror.
Matt: Yeah! Like...
Andrew: Only it's Tower of - Tower of Astronomy, or Astronomy Tower of Terror. [laughs]
Laura: Dumbledore's death. Oh my God. That would be so horrible. [laughs]
[Andrew, Matt and Mikey laugh]
Mikey: Oh man.
Matt: Oh God.
Andrew: Yeah, like right before the first big fall...
Mikey: You see a big green light.
[Laura and Matt continue laughing]
Mikey: And then you drop.
[Andrew, Laura, Matt and Mikey laugh]
Andrew: No no, you hear, "Sirius, plea-" or, "Severus, please."
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: And then it drops.
Matt: As soon as you fall down, you hear, "Avada Kedavra!" [laughs]
Andrew: Let's go to Universal with that.
Mikey: Yeah. You hear "Avada Kedavra" and it's a green flash, and that's when they take your picture and that's when you fall.
Laura: [laughs] Oh my God.
Mikey: Since it's a green flash, you're tinted green as you're falling.
Andrew: We should work for...
Laura: We should.
Andrew: ...Universal. We need to propose some of these ideas. Let's come up with some proposals.
Andrew: Okay. Well Micah, I believe there's some last-minute news to discuss as well. Or one last piece of news to discuss.
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