'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2' sets domestic box office record with $168.6 million debut
It looks like the "Harry Potter" franchise will finish out on top. The final film of the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2," broke the domestic box office opening weekend record previously held by the 2008 blockbuster "The Dark Knight."
The film's studio Warner Bros. Pictures, estimates the movie took in $168.6 million domestically over the weekend. The previous record for biggest domestic box office weekend was held by "The Dark Knight" with $158.4 million.
As for how the magical film did overseas, the movie has reportedly grossed $307 million internationally, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That figure raises the film's worldwide total to $475.6 million, making this weekend the best debut for a "Harry Potter" movie.
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" still holds the record for the top box office run for the franchise. It brought in $974.8 million worldwide ten years ago, but the studio predicts "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" will go on to gross $1 billion worldwide.
The Associated Press notes that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" did have the advantage of 3D screenings, which is slightly more expensive than 2D showings. The wire service reports that because of the higher 3D price, plus regular inflation, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" sold fewer tickets than "The Dark Knight" over opening weekend.
The final installment of the "Harry Potter" franchise set another record when it grossed $92.1 million on Friday. The film's debut day total became the biggest single-day gross of all time at the domestic box office.
The domestic Thursday midnight box office opening of $43.5 million in 3,800 theaters also earned "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" the best showing of all time for midnight shows. The honor was previously held by "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which earned $30 million in midnight shows.
The "Harry Potter" franchise is the most successful series of all time, with the first seven films grossing $6.4 billion worldwide. On Friday, "Deathly Hallows - Part 2" opened in 4,300 theaters, including 3,000 3D runs.
In the final installment, Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger return to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemort's final horcruxes, which contain fragments of his soul. By doing so, they hope to render him mortal, so that they can finally kill him. But when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle ever begins.
The previous box office champ, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," which held the top spot for two weeks, slipped to second place with $21.3 million. The Associated Press reports that it remains the year's top domestic hit with a three-week total of $302.8 million.
In third place is the comedy "Horrible Bosses" starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Kevin Spacey. The film earned $17.6 million in its second weekend in release, raising its box office sum to $60 million.
The Kevin James comedy "The Zookeeper" came in fourth place with $12.3 million. The film has earned a total of $42.3 million for its two-week run at the box office.
Finishing out the top five is "Cars 2." The Pixar animated film which features the voice of Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable guy and Michael Cane, earned an additional $8.3 million over the weekend. Its four-week box office sum currently stands at $165.2 million.Correction: In the July 17 story above, OnTheRedCarpet.com erroneously reported that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" earned $186.6 million in domestic sales. The correct figure is $168.6 million. This version of the article has been updated to reflect the correction.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," opened in theaters in the United States on July 15, 2011. Watch the final trailer below.