Box Office: ‘Dark Knight’s’ opening record falls as ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2’ grosses $168.5 million

Talk about going out with a bang.  Since 2001, “Harry Potter” has been the gift that keeps giving for Warner Bros. with the first seven films grossing over $2 billion in the U.S. alone.  The final installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2,” debuted this weekend and cast another powerful spell on moviegoers.  

Playing in a massive 4,375 theaters, “Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” made an estimated $168.5 million over the 3-day frame. That breaks “The Dark Knight’s” previous record of $158.4 million in 2008.  “Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” also broke the midnight ticket sales record with $43.5 million and the single day mark with $92.1 million on Friday.  Globally, the film shattered the international box office taking in $475.6 million with $307 million from outside the U.S. and Canada.  Those figures easily break previous global records set by “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” ($394 million) and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” ($262 million).  Where this phenomenal launch will take “Harry Potter” is unclear, but the critically acclaimed finale should easily overtake “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” as the no. 1 film of 2011 in the next week or so.

Speaking of “Dark of the Moon,” Michael Bay’s own goodbye to a major franchise fell to second this weekend with another $21.2 million and $302.8 million to date.  “Dark of the Moon” won’t hit the $400 million level of “Revenge of the Fallen,” but the $375 million mark isn’t out of reach.

Dropping to third was another Warner Bros. release, “Horrible Bosses.”  The summer of successful R-rated comedies continues as “Bosses” dropped only 37.7% for another $17.6 million and $60 million in just 10 days.

“Zookeeper” had a similar fall in fourth with a $12.3 million take and $42.3 million so far.

“Cars 2” rounded out the top five with $8.3 million and $165.3 million since it debuted last month.  

Barely making a whimper against “Deathly Hallow’s” grasp on the box office was another debut, “Winnie the Pooh.”  The hand-drawn animated film grossed only $8 million.

Another record was broken this weekend when Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” hit $41.7 million.  The romantic comedy is now Allen’s highest grossing film ever surpassing “Hannah and Her Sisters” which hit $40 million in 1986.

New films on Friday include “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Friends with Benefits” and “Another Earth.”

Final box office results are released on Monday.