‘Harry Potter’ Has Record $43.5 Million in Midnight Showings

Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2." The movie is the final adventure in the Harry Potter series. Photographer: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Brothers via Bloomberg

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” scored a record $43.5 million in midnight and early morning ticket sales in North America, giving the Warner Bros. film a shot at a new weekend high.

The results suggest the Time Warner Inc. film may reach $80 million today, topping the $72.7 million Friday record set by “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” in November 2009, Hollywood.com Box-Office said in an e-mailed statement.

Based on the early sales, the last of the “Harry Potter” pictures may exceed the $158.4 million July 2008 weekend record set by “The Dark Knight,” also a Warner release, the box-office tracker said. The screenings also set a sales record for Imax Corp. locations, taking in $2 million at 274 theaters, the widest release of any film on Imax screens.

“I feel pretty comfortable saying the three-day domestic record is in jeopardy,” Dan Fellman, Warner’s president of domestic theatrical distribution, said in an interview. “This is bittersweet because we own it ourselves with ‘The Dark Knight.’”

The previous Imax record was $1.4 million set by “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” which opened at 238 Imax locations, Greg Foster, Imax chairman and president of filmed entertainment, said in an interview.

“There are people outside our theaters and they’ve been in line for many, many hours, in costume, having a party, waiting to go in,” he said.

Warner Bros. Studios

Warner Bros. was third in domestic sales with $754.7 million through July 10, according to Box Office Mojo. Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures was first with $1.14 billion and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures was second at $834.4 million.

U.S. and Canadian ticket sales this year through last weekend had declined 8.6 percent to $5.5 billion, while attendance slid 10 percent, according to Hollywood.com.

With eight movies, “Harry Potter” is the most successful film series ever, according to Hollywood.com. The pictures have collected $6.46 billion in worldwide ticket sales, including the initial revenue from the latest movie, according to Box Office Mojo.

In the film, students and faculty at Hogwarts engage in a life-and-death battle with forces of evil as Harry faces a final showdown with his nemesis, Lord Voldemort.

Midnight showings took place at 3,800 theaters, including 3,000 in 3-D, Hollywood.com said.

Time Warner, the New York-based media company that also owns HBO and CNN, fell 21 cents to $35.55 at 1:32 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had risen 11 percent this year before today. Imax rose 78 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $28.75. The stock had fallen less than 1 percent before today.

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