By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — 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.”
International results for “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” included record openings in Great Britain at $36.6 million and Australia at $26.7 million, according to Warner Bros.
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.
“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.”
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 but took in more money than “The Dark Knight” over opening weekend.
Overall domestic revenue for the weekend totaled $263 million, a record for a non-holiday weekend, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
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.
“This is just really a monumental event,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “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.
“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.
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.”
“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.
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.
1. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” $168.6 million ($307 million international).
2. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” $21.3 million ($39 million international).
3. “Horrible Bosses,” $17.6 million.
4. “Zookeeper,” $12.3 million.
5. “Cars 2,” $8.3 million ($12.4 million international).
6. “Winnie the Pooh,” $8 million.
7. “Bad Teacher,” $5.2 million.
8. “Larry Crowne,” $2.6 million.
9. “Super 8,” $1.92 million.
10. “Midnight in Paris,” $1.9 million.