MSN has a review of Goblet of Fire up that poses an interesting question:
So far, most critics and fans would agree, every Harry Potter movie has been better than the last one. Statistics, however, suggest a disconnect.
The first one, “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone,” released in 2001, grossed $317 million in the United States. No. 2, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” released in 2002, made $261 million. The third and most acclaimed entry, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” released in 2004, grossed “only” $249 million.
All were immensely successful, of course, and they collected many more millions overseas, where the studios now make most of their money on theatrical releases. Yet the pattern holds there as well: No. 1 is far and away the biggie, with a combined domestic/overseas gross approaching $1 billion, while No. 2 trails and No. 3 is nearly $200 million behind No. 1.
It does seem that the more inventive and interesting the adaptations are, the more audiences dwindle.
I personally sometimes find it difficult to watch a deeper movie again right away, and sometimes I’ll only see it once before getting the DVD. (Please bear in mind that I hardly ever go see movies anyway.) When I saw Azkaban, I enjoyed it, but it put me through the wringer mentally, trying to follow the action and think about what had been changed from the book and just keep up with the frenzied pace. I felt like I was too tired after all that to go see it again, so I didn’t.
Goblet of Fire‘s pacing wasn’t slow by any means, but it was much easier for me to follow. Maybe that’s because the story’s better. Maybe the screenplay or the direction is better. I have no idea.
What I do know is that this movie seems to be infinitely rewatchable. I would watch it again right now if I could :)