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Best ever opening weekend for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

by Shannon Harris on November 22, 2010

Grossing a record $125 million in its opening weekend, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is already a landmark success for the franchise, not to mention the sixth all-time biggest opening.

According to the Associated Press, the film also raked in $205 million in 54 other countries, totaling $330.1 million worldwide.

The new film premiered at midnight last Thursday, with some screenings beginning as late as 3 a.m. The after-hours showings generated $24 million on their own, contributing to Friday's record of $61.2 million, making it the fifth best-ever opening day.

The seventh film in the popular franchise trumped its previous record of $102.7 million for the 2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Overall sales stayed at around 16 million tickets for both movies, however, since today's higher ticket prices account for most of the difference, reports the AP. The New York Times calculates that The Goblet of Fire would have grossed $127.4 million over its first three days, adjusting for prices.

Revenue wasn't the only thing going up – the average age of audience members has also continued to rise. Warner Bros. reported that 25 percent of the audience was between the ages of 18 and 34, up from 10 percent from the film series' first installment 9 years ago.

Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. head of distribution, told the AP that "when we started 'Harry Potter,' basically, the audience was driven to theaters by their parents. Today, those same kids are driving to the midnight shows themselves."

"No other franchise has been able to age and expand the audience this way," Fellman told the New York Times.

The series will conclude when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is released July 2011.

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