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Posted at 08:39 AM ET, 07/18/2011

‘Harry Potter’ smashes box office records with $168.5M opening weekend


“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” lit up the weekend box office. (Jaap Buitendijk)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” the eighth and final chapter of the most lucrative film franchise of all time, easily won the weekend box office. This was not exactly surprising.

But what is astonishing is the amount of money it made: $168.5 million, setting a new all-time record for the highest-grossing opening weekend, one previously held by “The Dark Knight.”

More fascinating facts and figures regarding the Boy Who Lived (and Also Made a Ton of Cash for Warner Bros.) after the jump, along with a rundown of the weekend’s top five movies.

In addition to setting a record for the most lucrative opening, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” also had the biggest opening day of all time, earning $92.1 million Friday alone. According to Box Office Mojo, the film also stands as the second highest-grossing 3D release (behind “Alice in Wonderland”), although, notably, 57 percent of moviegoers opted to have their last Hogwarts experience in the traditional (and less expensive) 2D.

More interesting “Harry Potter” tidbits:

— The film has made $307 million overseas, bringing its total intake to $475.5 million

— Box Office Mojo states that the audience skewed ever so slightly female and young; 54 percent of Potterphile moviegoers were female and 45 percent of them were under the age of 25.

—Moviegoers in Salt Lake City are particularly devoted Potter fans. An L.A. Times report notes that the Jordan Commons theater in Salt Lake sold more tickets for “Deathly Hallows Part 2” than any other multiplex in the country. The fifth theater on that list of biggest ticket drivers was also located in Utah’s capital city.

While “Deathly Hallows” made the most significant box office news, there were indeed other movies in theaters this weekend. One of them was “Transformers:Dark of the Moon,” which dropped to second place and added $21 million more to its significant total gross of $302.8 million. It’s still the top money maker of the year, though one has to think “Harry Potter” will assume that throne very soon.

The story for “Winnie the Pooh” wasn’t terribly cheery. The sweet, G-rated ad­ven­ture was the only other major new release of the weekend and it was clearly out-Voldemorted by “Deathly Hallows”; it landed in sixth place with $8 million. Presumably Pooh will console himself by downing a few jays of honey. It’s Eeoyore’s response that concerns me -- this news could finally knock him straight into the bell jar.

On a happier note, Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” which snuck back into the top 10 this weekend after dropping out of it the week prior, has officially become the director’s top-grossing movie of all time, without adjusting for inflation. It’s made $41.7 million so far, more than “Hannah and Her Sisters” ($40 million), “Manhattan” ($39.9 million) and “Annie Hall” ($38.2 million).

Now, here are your top five movies of the weekend:

1. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”: $168.5 million

2. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”: $21.2 million

3. “Horrible Bosses”: $17.6 million

4. “Zookeeper”: $12.3 million

5. “Cars 2”: $8.3 million

Does “Captain America” have a shot at taking the No. 1 spot away from the British Harry Potter? Here’s your opportunity to decide by predicting next weekend’s box office winner.

By  |  08:39 AM ET, 07/18/2011

Categories:  Movies

 
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