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Weekend Box Office: Potter Saves the Best for Last

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 07/17/11 at 11:38 PM CT

When the midnight record was broken early Friday, it was a good indication that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 was going to have a good weekend, but I wonder how many people could have predicted just how good it turned out.

With an estimated $168.5 million, the final film in the Potter franchise became the highest-grossing opening weekend ever, breaking the $158.4 million mark set by The Dark Knight. The $92.1 million Friday is the biggest one-day total ever, while the $15.5 million IMAX total also set a record. The film was front-loaded however, as it also achieved the dubious honor of having the biggest Friday-to-Saturday drop ever (53%).

The film was also the first Potter to be released in 3D. While it couldn't quite match Transformers: Dark of the Moon's 60% 3D total, the 43% it did have put it in line with most of the other major films of the summer. Even with the huge numbers, it could only boast the sixth-best attended film ever due to ticket prices. Still, with the also record-shattering international performance, this should be the first Potter film to surpass the $1 billion global tally as well.

If you were the one out of three people who bought a ticket other than Harry Potter, you might have helped some of the other films. Probably not Winnie the Pooh, which wound up opening in 6th place with $8 million. Granted, opening up an animated film in the face of Harry Potter was not the best strategy. I'm guessing those too young to handle the intense PG-13 Potter were the ones attending this one.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon fell 55% but still managed to become the first film of 2011 to pass the $300 million mark. With a second-place $21.2 million total, it now stands at $302.8 million. Meanwhile Horrible Bosses is catching up to Bad Teacher in terms of R-rated comedies. With a third-place $17.6 million, the film has now earned just over $60 million.

Zookeeper came in fourth place with $12.3 million for an underwhelming $42.3 million total. Cars 2 continued to fall further behind its predecessor rounding out the top five with $8.3 million for a $165.3 million total. Finally, Midnight in Paris became Woody Allen's highest-grossing film and now stands at $41.8 million.

Challenging the boy wizard next week with be Captain America: The First Avenger along with the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis romcom Friends with Benefits. We'll see how Harry and co. handle the competition next week.

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