‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ Breaks Box Office Records

The boy wizard has vanquished the dark knight and a band of pirates with a record-setting magic act at both the domestic and international box office.

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' surpasses 'The Dark Knight' and 'Spider-Man 3' with biggest opening weekend. Photo: Warner Bros.

The eighth “Harry Potter” movie took in $92.1 million in North America on Friday and went on to earn a weekend total of $168.5 million, according to studio estimates.

The new “Potter” film’s box-office gross topped those of previous record holders like “The Dark Knight” and “Spider-Man 3,” although it trailed them in attendance. “Deathly Hallows Part 2” ranked sixth overall when it comes to number of tickets sold.

Over 3100 locations offered the film in 3-D (the largest 3-D rollout ever) but only 43 percent of audiences chose to see the film that way, offering another example of moviegoers’ 3-D fatigue.

“Of course, a big factor in Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s boffo ticket sales are the fact that the film was released in 3D,” writes Mashable’s Christina Warren.

“Although 3D tickets only accounted for 45% of the box office gross (as compared to 60% for Transformers: Dark of the Moon), the number of 3D screens available is unmatched by any other new film. Moreover, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opened in 4,375 locations and on 11,000 screens.”

She added: “Warner Bros. embraced social media in a big way in the promotion of Deathly Hallows Part 2. In addition to running significant campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, the studio also reached out to fan sites and created YouTube videos to promote the film.”

The Harry Potter films have already become the most successful move franchise of all time netting more almost $6 billion worldwide and outstripping the likes of James Bond, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

The success of the films has also propelled the young stars to become some of the best paid actors in Hollywood. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the young wizard earned £25 million, in 2009 for the last two instalments of the movie, making him the highest paid actor that year.

Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, who play Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger out-earned the likes of George Clooney and Tom Hanks with an estimated £18 million each in 2009.

Disney’s reboot of sorts of “Winnie the Pooh” didn’t stand a chance against the boy wizard and his pals, with the latest animated take on the classic character drumming up just $8 million in its debut.

The third “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was a distant #2 at the box office during its third week of release, taking in $21.2 million for a $302.8 million total. Dark workplace comedy “Horrible Bosses” was number three on the scorecard with $17.6 million for a $60 million total.

Kevin James’ “Zookeeper” took in $12.3 million for a $42.3 million total, which is far behind where the comedian’s “Paul Blart: Mallcop” was during a similar point in its theatrical release.

“Cars 2” rounded out the top five with $8.3 million. The computer-animated flick’s $165.3 million total and overall attendance record marks a 12-year low for the much celebrated Pixar Studios.

Writer/director Woody Allen has plenty to be happy about, however, as “Midnight in Paris” became his highest-grossing film over the weekend. The fantastical, well-reviewed movie has earned $41.8 million and ranks seventh among Allen’s films in terms of number of tickets sold.

This weekend will mark the arrival of two heavily promoted summer movies: highly anticipated “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which stars Chris Evans in the title role and the Justin Timberlake/ Mila Kunis romantic comedy “Friends With Benefits.” [via The Telegraph (UK), CTV (CA) and MTV]

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