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‘Harry Potter’ Breaks ‘The Dark Knight’ Record and More

The culmination of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, crushed multiple box office records in its worldwide debut, including the opening weekend record greedily held by The Dark Knight since July 2008. “Deathly Hallows Part 2” opened at $168.5 million, more than $10 million more than The Dark Knight earned three years ago with $158.4 million. “Harry Potter” also broke the opening day record with $92.1 million. Its midnight grosses alone accounted for $43.5 million. This final installment also topped itself, becoming the highest opener of the series and likely finishing with the same fervor. Although attendance was down, 3D and IMAX prices bolstered profits.

To recap, going into this weekend the very first “Harry Potter” movie was still the most successful domestically with $317 million and worldwide with $974 million total. “Deathly Hallows Part 1” landed the highest international gross over Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by just $2 million. All of that is soon to be history considering the pace the last installment set with its opening weekend. The international haul is also legendary in the making. In one weekend, the wizard drew $307 million in foreign markets topping Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides by 18%. Altogether, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has made nearly half a billion dollars in under four days.

Moviegoers will likely not see a threat to their beloved “Harry Potter” opening weekend record for a year or more. The conclusion of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two may come close in 2012 but fanboys will hold their breath that it will fall short. The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Avatar 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, Man of Steal, The Hobbit, and Jurassic Park 4 will all make a run for the record between now and 2015.  

The Top Ten

1.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - $168.5M (weekend)…$168.5M (gross)
2.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon - $21.2M…$302.8M
3.  Horrible Bosses - $17.6M…$60.0M
4.  Zookeeper - $12.3M…$42.3M
5.  Cars 2 - $8.3M…$165.3M
6.  Winnie the Pooh - $8.0M…$8.0M
7.  Bad Teacher - $5.2M …$88.5M
8.  Larry Crowne - $2.5M…$31.6M
9.  Super 8 - $1.9M…$122.2M
10. Midnight in Paris - $1.8M …$41.7M 

Just so this box office report is complete, let it also be mentioned that Winnie the Pooh opened and earned approximately $8 million over the weekend. Moving to next weekend…

Captain America (or Captain America: The First Avenger as it is more commonly marketed overseas) makes its long-awaited debut on 3500 screens across the country. It plays opposite Friends with Benefits, an R-rated sex comedy starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Your Player Affinity hosts of The Plot Hole movie podcast dissected the consistency of the R-rated comedy in episode 12 (see www.playeraffinity.com/podcast). Our conclusion is that this subgenre has legs, albeit the unsteady limbs of a toddling infant. For every great raunchy comedy similar to The Hangover there is a stinker like Love and Other Drugs, or as John Gilpatrick discovered, a movie such as Sex Drive. Friends with Benefits has a fresh-faced cast in its favor, however its exact plot has been done before by Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached. That movie opened to mainly positive reviews and earned $147 million worldwide.

captain america

Captain America is the last of the superhero movies of summer 2011, and as the box office has proved thus far, being a part of this genre is not a guaranteed winner this year. Green Lantern, the last superhero release, has already dropped out of the top ten. Thor and X-Men: First Class both underperformed earlier in the season. Receiving high marks from critics has not helped any of these titles and given the obscure nature of the character, the first Avenger will likely do no better than the rest of its cohorts.


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