With high profile franchise instalments Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, James Bond's 20th official outing Die Another Day and The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers all released in the next five weeks much speculation surrounds their box office potential and how they might effect each other.

Cantor Index (www.cantorindex.com), the online spread betting forum which launched film-based spread betting in summer 2001, has released its numbers for the busy winter season giving an indication of where these titles are expected to go.

Following the UK previews at the weekend of£7.9m ($12.5m) the Harry Potter sequel has gone online with an opening three-day spread of£9.3m-£9.5m, suggesting it is expected to perform much the same as last year's Potter, despite going out on more prints. Before Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone opened Cantor's spread had it at£9.8m-£10.2m. It claimed£9.6m over the weekend Nov 16-18, 2001. Notably the figures for the sequel's preview weekend on Saturday and Sunday were lower than those of the first film's preview.

The spread for the Potter sequel in North America is identical to that of its predecessor at $81m-$84m despite the fact the Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone grossed $90.3m over its launch weekend. The spread for the film's total gross at the end of four week's is $221m-$227m. This compares to $227m-$232m posted for last year's Potter film, which grossed $239m after four weeks.

Interestingly Cantor is predicting the The Two Towers will out-gross Potter over four weeks in North America, suggesting it may better the Warner Bros title by $25m or more. The preliminary spread for The Two Towers over four weeks is $242m-$249m, which if achieved would be an improvement on The Fellowship Of The Ring's final four week gross of $228m.

The relative successes of Potter and Rings are considered linked, however, and Cantor suggests that should Potter fail to reach $200m by the end of its first four week then the spread on Rings will likely drop to around $225m-$230m.

In 2001 The Fellowship Of The Ring achieved an astounding 4.85 ratio of opening gross to four-week tally - meaning that its four-week total was 4.85 times the film's opening weekend gross. In comparison the average for the top 10 films of 2001 was a ratio of 3.1 and for Harry Potter it was 2.69. This was largely attributed to The Lord Of The Rings sustained strength throughout the weekdays of the Christmas period, a benefit this year's sequel will again enjoy.

The spread for Die Another Day is more conservative but still has the Bond title expected to outperform his last adventure, The World Is Not Enough in North America. The World Is Not Enough, Bond's most successful title in North America with a final gross of $126.9m, had grossed just under $100m at the end of four weeks. Cantor Index's preliminary spread has Die Another Day at $115m-$120m, boosted by the Thankgiving weekend on its second week of release. The opening spread is $36m-$38m, although as 8 Mile's stunning $51.2m opening proved this weekend predictions can be way out.