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Final "Harry Potter" film expected to break records

by Shannon Harris on July 15, 2011

The eighth and final installment in the "Harry Potter" films hit theaters at midnight on Thursday, and if early indications hold true, it may have the highest opening weekend of all time. According to the Los Angeles Times, analysts believe "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II" may beat the record set by "The Dark Knight" in 2008.

The gritty Batman reboot brought in $158.4 million when it opened on July 18, but some experts believe that Harry Potter may beat the record by as early as Saturday. There are a number of factors working in its favor. In addition to the fact that it was the highly-anticipated final chapter and that midnight showings sold out extremely quickly, the movie was released in 3D, which makes for higher ticket prices. In fact, before the first showing, the movie had already raked in $45 million.

According to the Times, the movie is garnering some of the best reviews in the series, which began in 2001, and that, combined with a sense of nostalgia that many viewers feel, having grown up with the books and the movies, is cause for high expectations.

"With the 3D and the huge sense of urgency among fans to be the first to see this film, it has as good a shot as you can have to break the record," Vincent Bruzzese, president of the worldwide motion picture group for research firm Ipsos OTX, told the news source.

The eight films, based on the popular children's book series by J.K. Rowling, made international stars out of its three lead actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. Furthermore, the franchise has grossed an astonishing $6 billion worldwide.

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