It was a record breaking performance for Warner's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II this weekend. The final chapter of the long running fantasy franchise opened with a tremendous $169.19 million in its first three days. In doing so, Deathly Hallows: Part II topped the $158.41 million start of 2008's The Dark Knight by $10.78 million to set a new opening record for the largest opening weekend of all-time.
It should also be noted that The Dark Knight still holds the all-time opening weekend record when adjusting for ticket price inflation with an adjusted mark of $173.42 million and also didn't have the advantage of 3D surcharges that Deathly Hallows: Part II had. When adjusting for inflation, Deathly Hallows: Part II also falls slightly behind the $172.64 million adjusted opening weekend gross of 2007's Spider-Man 3.
In addition to the largest opening weekend of all-time, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II also set new records for the largest midnight debut of all-time with $43.50 million (topping the $30.0 million mark of last year's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) and the largest opening day of all-time with $91.07 million (shattering the $72.70 million mark of 2009's The Twilight Saga: New Moon). After Friday's simply massive performance, it was quite understandable that Deathly Hallows: Part II fell 53.4 percent on Saturday to gross $42.41 million. The film stabilized on Sunday by falling 15.8 percent to gross $35.70 million for the day and registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 1.86 to 1.
Deathly Hallows: Part II skewed towards female moviegoers (54 percent) and moviegoers over 25 (55 percent) and clearly appealed strongly to all four quadrants given those percentages. 3D grosses accounted for 43 percent of the film's domestic performance this weekend, as audiences opted for the 2D version of the film. In contrast, 3D grosses accounted for 61 percent of the film's international performance; continuing the trend of 3D performing significantly stronger internationally than domestically this summer. Domestically, Deathly Hallows: Part II grossed $15.5 million from IMAX locations, which represented a new three-day record for an IMAX performance.
Internationally, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II has already grossed $312.3 million since opening on Wednesday. That places the film's worldwide start at a record-breaking $481.5 million. Key international grosses included $37.8 million in the United Kingdom, $25.5 million in Australia, $26.0 million in Germany, $24.5 million in France, $21.9 million in Japan, $19.5 million in Russia, $15.8 million in Mexico and $15.7 million in Italy. The film's performances in the United Kingdom and Australia represented new opening weekend records in both countries.
In other box office news, Paramount's Transformers: Dark of the Moon topped the $300 million domestic mark this weekend, making it the first release of 2011 to do so. The 3D sci-fi action sequel reached the milestone in 19 days. With the added presence of Harry Potter, Dark of the Moon fell a sharp 55 percent from last weekend with a second place finish of $21.33 million. The 19-day domestic gross for Dark of the Moon stands at $302.88 million. Internationally, Transformers: Dark of the Moon grossed $39.0 million this weekend. That places the film's international total at $460.0 million, which already makes it the highest grossing Transformers film internationally. The film's current worldwide total is $762.9 million.
The weekend's other new wide release, Disney's Winnie the Pooh, opened in sixth place with $7.86 million. The traditionally animated film opened towards the lower end of it modest pre-release expectations and delivered a so-so per-location average of $3,267. The Winnie the Pooh franchise has never been known for power at the box office, with previous un-adjusted starts including $9.43 million for 2000's The Tigger Movie, $6.10 million for 2003's Piglet's Big Movie and $5.81 million for 2005's Pooh's Heffalump Movie. Winnie the Pooh will hope to hold up well going forward, especially during weekdays, which are very friendly to family fare during the summer.
Both of last weekend's new comedies held up nicely this weekend, especially when factoring in the added presence of Harry Potter in the marketplace. Warner's Horrible Bosses fell 37 percent to take third place with $17.78 million, while Sony's Zookeeper fell 39 percent to take fourth place with $12.33 million. Strong word of mouth is clearly helping out Horrible Bosses, while Zookeeper star Kevin James is known for films that display strong holding power at the box office (Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Grown Ups). The respective ten-day grosses for Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper stand at $60.15 million and at $42.38 million.
Sony Pictures Classics' Midnight in Paris topped the $40 million mark this weekend and also surpassed 1986's Hannah and Her Sisters to become Woody Allen's highest grossing domestic film to date. Obviously, Midnight in Paris has been aided by 25 years of ticket price inflation in the comparison and it should also be noted that the film trails the inflation adjusted grosses of a number of Allen's films from the 1970s by a large amount, most notably 1977's Annie Hall and 1979's Manhattan. Regardless, Midnight in Paris is having an exceptional run and should have enough steam left to clear the $50 million mark.
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