Aside from James Cameron, who makes up his own rules when it comes to money, we can usually gauge where the tides turn and deficits turn into profits. In the lower millions, it might be tough, but gross $500 million, $700 million, or even a billion, and chances are, the feature is raking in the cash ... or so we think. Once marketing, investments, and killer distribution fees are added to the mix, even almost billion-dollar blockbusters can be horrifically in the red, like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Yes, folks, a new financial report says that the 2007 film is still carrying an almost $200 million deficit.
The folks over at Deadline nabbed a distribution report for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which exemplifies the iffy world of net profit deals. Dealmakers tell the site that "studio distribution fees are a killer," that this is usual studio practice, and "similar statements sent to Daniel Radcliffe or a producer like David Heyman probably read much differently. There is less that gets in the way of talent getting paid."

The first bit of iffyness comes in the cumulative gross. Though Box Office Mojo ranks the worldwide gross at $938,212,738, Warner Bros. lists the "total defined gross" as $612,264,189 (+/- any differences in dates between the September 2009 statement and BOM's numbers). Then, off comes the $211 mil for distribution fee, almost $2.5 mil in accounts receivable costs, almost $200 mil in expenses including prints and advertising, and another $373 mil in "investment and other" costs. This boils down to a deficit that reads $167,297,777. That amount, of course, could be wiped away if the over $300 mil difference between BOM's gross and the statement's gross could be accounted for.

Or, maybe JK Rowling can figure out a spell for added moneymaking, or a government bailout, since a billion just doesn't seem to cut it these days.