“Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ will pass “The Dark Knight” as the biggest domestic debut in history
(Updated, Sat. 9:56 a.m. PT)
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" smashed the record for the largest single-day gross with a $92.1 million haul on Friday, according to studio estimates.
The previous record-holder, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" grossed $72.7 million.
Barring a continent-wide carmageddon, the final film in the mega-grossing franchise will bank north of $190 million this weekend and set a new high-water mark for domestic debuts.
That will easily unseat "The Dark Knight" and its $158.4 million debut as the biggest stateside bow in box office history. For Warner Bros., the studio behind both tentpole phenomenons, it means the record stays in-house and validates the decision to split Potter's send-off into two parts. Halving author J.K. Rowling's last book will likely add $1 billion to the franchise's worldwide take when "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" wraps up its run.
Potter's impressive bounty was spread out across 4,375 theaters, many of them offering 3D shows at a premium. Its single-day tally includes $43.5 million netted from midnight showings.
The bespectacled wizard also cast a spell at the international box office. "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" grossed an estimated $75 million in 59 countries including Russia, France and Australia through Friday. Its international total now stands at $157.5 million, up 70 percent from where "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" was in the same period.
With Potter gobbling up the lion's share of the attention, there isn't much magic left for the other films in the marketplace.
The weekend's other wide release, "Winnie the Pooh," debuted to $2.9 million domestically in 2,405 theaters. The Disney animated film should hit its pre-releases tracking to bank $8 million over the three-day period.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight's "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" grossed $39,000 in 24 theaters.
Holdovers "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and "Horrible Bosses" grossed $6.3 million and $5.5 million respectively. The angry robot sequel should add $20 million to its haul, while the dark comedy will rack up another $17 million.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" made short work of the record for midnight screenings on Friday, conjuring up a staggering $43.5 million and selling out theaters across the country.
To get a sense of just how massive "Deathly Hallows: Part 2"'s' haul was, the now deposed midnight record holder "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" set the benchmark at $30 million back in 2009.
The final film in the mega-grossing franchise waved its late-night spell in 3,800 midnight runs, with many theaters offering 3 a.m. shows to meet pent-up demand from fans looking to wave the bespectacled boy wizard off into the sunset.
In addition, the film broke the midnight opening record for IMAX theatres, with a $2 million gross on 274 screens.
"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" continued to dominate the international box office grossing $37.6 million in 43 countries on Thursday.
That brings its foreign take to $82.5 million.
"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" now expands to 4,300 theaters, including 3,000 3D runs. Based on its strong debut, it is possible that the final Potter film could lap "The Dark Knight" and surpass the $158.4 million the superhero sequel banked in 2008 to become the highest grossing domestic bow of all time.