Harry Potter Breaks Box Office Records

It's not every day that we can say that a movie has broke box office records. Although lately, it seems as if once a year is about the correct scale.

In fact, if you take a look at the all-time opening weekends list, you'd have to go pretty far down the list to find a pre-21st century film. The only film in the top fifty is The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1999 ($72 million) at number 42, and there are only three more in the top 100, all in that final year before we all laughed at Y2K.

Chalk it up to the added cost of 3D and increasing ticket prices. But to hit number one actually is pretty special. The last time it happened was three years ago to the day, when Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight surprised everyone, taking in nearly $158.5 million to pass 2007's Spider-Man 3 for the all-time highest opening weekend.

Today, Bruce Wayne is licking his wounds (as he likely will be this time next year on screen), but the studio that owns the rights to his movies isn't.

This weekend, the final chapter in the epic Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, overwhelmed the bat by over $10 million, to take in an estimated $168.55 million three day haul and become the highest grossing opening weekend for a movie of all time. Of course, everyone's favorite wizard had the help of the third dimension -- the estimated attendance for the weekend sits in sixth place, behind The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, New Moon, Pirates 3 and the first Spider-Man, all 2D films -- and a seven-movie build up that movies before it didn't have, but from every account, the hype was well deserved, and the reaction even better.

Still, the 3D portion of Harry's totals was actually relatively low at 43% -- Transformers held strong at 60%, but DH2 was about par with most 3D blockbusters -- but it was still good enough for the second highest 3D haul of all time behind Alice in Wonderland.

Deathly Hollows Part 2 was shown on over 11,000 screens at 4,375 locations around North America, and beat any previous film in the franchise by nearly $45 million, Deathly Hollows Part 1 holding the number 2 Potter rank last November. DH2 also holds the record for best opening day with $92 million (nearly $20 million more than number 2), as well as the highest Midnight screening numbers on record, but also the highest Friday-to-Saturday drop of all time, Falling over 50% overnight, and a 22% drop to Sunday.

Outside the US, Harry Potter has already made $307 million, bringing its worldwide gross to a staggering $475.5 million.

The film will also make Harry Potter the highest grossing franchise of all time in theaters, as it is on pace to soon pass Star Wars' $2.218 billion haul.

The question now, of course, is how will WB continue to monetize this big screen empire?

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Deathly Hollows Part 2 left of course several films in its wake, with Transformers: Dark of the Moon retreating to second place after two weeks at the top, dropping 55% for a $21.25 million weekend. Horrible Bosses was close behind in its second week with $17.6 million estimated, and Zookeeper ($12.3 million) and Cars 2 ($8.5 million) rounded out the top five, while the only other major release, Winnie the Pooh, opened in sixth place with an $8 million haul.

Source: Box Office Mojo