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Video: 'Potter' sets box-office record

Jaap Buitendijk  /  AP
"This will be the biggest 'Harry Potter' by far," said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. "A billion dollars is definitely going to happen."
By AP Movie Writer
updated 7/17/2011 2:07:26 PM ET 2011-07-17T18:07:26

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.

Warner Bros. estimates that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" took in $168.6 million domestically from Friday to Sunday. That beats the previous best opening weekend of $158.4 million, also held by Warner Bros. for 2008's Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight."

Overseas, the film added $307 million in 59 countries since it began rolling out Wednesday, topping the previous best international debut of $260.4 million set in May by Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides."

Worldwide, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" topped $475 million in a matter of days, putting it on course to become the franchise's first billion-dollar worldwide hit.

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"This will be the biggest 'Harry Potter' by far," said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. "A billion dollars is definitely going to happen."

Video: 'Potter' sets box-office record (on this page)

The current franchise high is $974.8 million worldwide for the first film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 10 years ago.

"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" does have the advantage of 3-D screenings, which cost a few dollars more than 2-D shows. Because of the higher 3-D price, plus regular inflation, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" sold fewer tickets than "The Dark Knight" over opening weekend.

Which movie scene was too scary for your kids?

The "Harry Potter" finale also set a record for best opening day domestically Friday with $92.1 million, nearly $20 million ahead of the previous high for "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" two years ago.

Other records for "Deathly Hallows: Part 2: best domestic gross for debut midnight shows at $43.5 million, topping the $30 million for last year's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"; best domestic opening in huge-screen IMAX theaters with $15.5 million, surpassing the $12.2 million for last year's "Alice in Wonderland"; and best worldwide IMAX debut with $23.5 million, beating the $20.4 million for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" two weeks ago.

Story: 'Deathly Hallows 2' a fittingly grand farewell

"This is just really a monumental event," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "The 3-D component, plus the IMAX, plus it being the last 'Harry Potter,' it was just this convergence of things that created this incredible record."

Paramount's third "Transformers" blockbuster, which had been No. 1 the previous two weekends, slipped to second-place with $21.3 million domestically. It remains the year's top domestic hit with $302.8 million.

The latest "Transformers" added $39 million overseas, bringing its international haul to $460 million and worldwide total to $762.8 million. Among this year's releases, that's second only to "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" at $1.03 billion.

The weekend's other new wide release, Disney's animated family flick "Winnie the Pooh," got swamped by "Harry Potter" mania. A return to the hand-drawn animation style of earlier adaptations of A.A. Milne's beloved storybook characters, "Winnie the Pooh" pulled in just $8 million domestically, finishing at No. 6.

Story: Need a 'Potter' refresher? Seven films in six minutes

"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is the eighth and final film adapted from J.K. Rowling's seven novels about the young wizard's indoctrination into a secret world of sorcery and his epic battles with evil conjurer Voldemort.

Box office results

Cast more than a decade ago at ages 10 and 11 as Harry and his pals Hermione and Ron, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint became instant celebrities. They grew up on screen, maturing from inexperienced children to adult actors whose earnest performances contributed to glowing reviews from critics for the finale.

The three now are moving on to adult roles, including Radcliffe's stint on Broadway in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Story: Harry Potter is entertainment champ of world

"It's just a great way to exit, with the class and style that J.K. Rowling wrote into these stories," Fellman said. "It comes to an end, as all goods thing do. When you have the opportunity to be a part of that, to work on all eight movies over 10 years, to see the kids, meeting them for the first time when they're 10 and 11, and just now going to see Daniel Radcliffe at 22 years old in 'How to Succeed in Business' on Broadway. There's a bittersweet part of it."

The first "Harry Potter" film shown in 3-D, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" continued a downward trend for domestic revenues derived from the 3-D format, whose tickets cost a few dollars more than 2-D.

Some earlier hits took in 70 percent or more of their domestic cash from 3-D shows. But "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" did just 43 percent of its domestic business in 3-D, with most fans choosing cheaper 2-D tickets.

That still means a healthy $72.5 million in domestic revenue from 3-D screenings, but it also shows that American audiences have lost much of their fervor for seeing movies in three dimensions.

Overseas audiences remain eager for it, with 3-D tickets accounting for 61 percent of international income on "Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Woody Allen hit a milestone as his romance "Midnight in Paris" pulled in $1.9 million to raise its domestic total to $41.8 million, a personal revenue record for the filmmaker. The Sony Pictures Classics release beat Allen's previous high of $40.1 million for 1986's "Hannah and Her Sisters."

Factoring in today's higher admission prices, "Hannah and Her Sisters" and other earlier Allen hits such as "Annie Hall" sold far more tickets than "Midnight in Paris."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: 'Harry Potter' world premiere

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  1. Daniel Radcliffe

    Daniel Radcliffe walks the red carpet at the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" premiere at London's Trafalgar Square on Thursday, July 7. The actor has starred in all eight films since being cast at age 11. He recently revealed he's given up alcohol after abusing it while making the film series. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Emma Watson

    Hermione Granger is all grown up. Emma Watson dazzled in a grey Oscar De La Renta ruffled gown at the world premiere. She's believed to be planning to study at Oxford University now that the film series is finished. (Dylan Martinez / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rupert Grint

    Rupert Grint played Ron Weasley, Harry and Hermione's pal, in the series. His large redheaded family also played an important role in the saga. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. J.K. Rowling

    J.K. Rowling went from a single mother on welfare to one of the world's richest women thanks to authoring the Potter book series. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Helena Bonham Carter

    Helena Bonham Carter plays Bellatrix Lestrange, one of evil Voldemort's cohorts, in the films. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Alan Rickman

    Alan Rickman plays Severus Snape in the series, a pivotal character whose motives may not always be what they seem. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. One big party

    Crowds fill Trafalgar Square in London hoping to see the "Potter" stars. Some waited for days in a downpour and with limited bathroom facilities to watch the events unfold. (Joel Ryan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Tom Felton

    Tom Felton plays Draco Malfoy, Harry's school nemesis, in the films. He recently told the Daily Mail that the young cast members know they weren't chosen for acting skill, but because they resembled the characters Rowling created. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Carrying on

    A fan holds up a placard playing off the famed World War II admonition "Keep Calm and Carry On." (Toby Melville / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Robbie Coltrane

    Robbie Coltrane plays the gentle giant Hagrid, who helps Harry, Hermione and Ron while they're at Hogwarts. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. James and Oliver Phelps

    Twin actors James and Oliver Phelps play twins Fred and George Weasley in the film series. They're identical, but Oliver has a mole on the right side of his neck and James does not. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Natalia Tena

    Natalia Tena plays Nymphadora Tonks in the films. Her character marries and has a son during the series. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Helen McCrory

    Helen McCrory plays Narcissa Malfoy. She originally cast as Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix Lestrange, but due to pregnancy had to give that role to Helena Bonham Carter. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Bonnie Wright

    Bonnie Wright plays the character most young female "Potter" readers envy most -- Ginny Weasley, who eventually weds Harry. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Flying the colors

    Harry Potter fans clutch books they're hoping to have autographed. Their faces are painted in scarlet and gold, the colors of Gryffindor, Harry's house at Hogwarts. (Joel Ryan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Clemence Poesy

    Clemence Poesy plays Fleur Delacour, and in the film series, she weds Ron's brother, Bill. (Dave M. Benett / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Jamie Campbell Bower

    Jamie Campbell Bower plays a young Gellert Grindelwald in the last two films. The actor also appears in another enormously popular film franchise, the "Twilight" series. (Dave M. Benett / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Warrick Davis and family

    Warrick Davis poses with his family on the red carpet. He plays both Griphook and Flitwick in the series, and also worked as a casting agent to find additional little people to play goblins in the films. He also starred in "Willow," and plays an Ewok in the "Star Wars" series. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Evanna Lynch

    Evanna Lynch plays Luna Lovegood, a loony Hogwarts student who plays an important role in the book. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Michael Gambon

    Michael Gambon replaced the late Richard Harris as beloved Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Harris, who passed away in 2002 at age 72, took the role in the first two films, and Gambon played him in the remaining movies. (Ian Gavan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 - World Film Premiere
    Ian Gavan / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (20) 'Harry Potter' world premiere
  2. Daryl Cagle / MSNBC.com, Politicalcartoons.com
    Slideshow (12) The End of Harry Potter

Gallery: Meet the characters of 'Harry Potter'

Monsters and wizards and witches, oh my! Get the scoop on everyone from the boy wizard himself to his friends, teachers, and enemies

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