Box office report: 'Harry Potter' scores biggest opening weekend ever with $168.6 mil

Harry-Potter

Image Credit: Jaap Buitendijk

Hello, trifecta. After scoring the largest midnight debut and opening day, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 also landed the big one: best opening weekend.

According to studio estimates, the PG-13 wizarding movie collected $168.6 million this weekend, surpassing The Dark Knight‘s record $158.4 million and giving Warner Bros. the two best opening weekends ever. However, when adjusted for inflation, Knight would still be king with approximately $173 million in today’s ticket prices. Nevertheless, everyone involved with the eighth and final Potter film should be mighty proud. Not only did the movie bring in record-breaking amounts of moolah, but it’s currently the best-reviewed wide release of the year, according to both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. And it received an overall “A” rating from CinemaScore audiences.

Potter earned a record $15.5 million at IMAX theaters, according to the large-screen company. The film’s conversion to 3-D, however, produced middling results, as just 43 percent of the movie’s debut came from 3-D screens. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, by comparison, harvested 60 percent of its opening from 3-D showings. Overseas, where audiences are still enamored with 3-D, Potter‘s three-dimensional share was a stronger 61 percent. Speaking of overseas, Potter grossed $307 million in 59 countries, surpassing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides‘ $260.4 million for the largest foreign opening of all time. Add in its domestic total and Potter’s worldwide debut becomes $475.6 million, trouncing the prior all-time benchmark of $394 million set by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The film, it should be noted, was extremely front-loaded. Domestically, Potter fell 53 percent from Friday to Saturday, which is the steepest Friday-to-Saturday drop ever for a movie opening in more than 2,000 theaters. While its Friday gross of $92.1 million was the largest single-day tally ever, its estimated Saturday gross of $42.9 million ranks ninth among all Saturday results. This kind of massive drop was to be expected, with throngs of Potter fans opting to see the movie as early as possible. It’ll be interesting to see how the film holds up next weekend as the initial Potter-mania wears off.

Lest we all forget, other movies also played this weekend. Disney’s new Winnie the Pooh debuted in sixth place with $8 million. The G-rated picture topped the openings of Pooh’s Heffalump Movie ($5.8 million) and Piglet’s Big Movie ($6.1 million), but fell short of The Tigger Movie ($9.4 million). CinemaScore audiences gave it an “A-” grade. Curiously, 2 percent of CinemaScore’s participants listed “actress in a lead role” as a reason for why they attended Winnie the Pooh. Explain that one to me.

Among holdovers, Transformers: Dark of the Moon fell 55 percent for $21.3 million, pushing the action film’s cumulative total to $302.8 million. The comedies Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper held up well, slipping only 38 percent and 39 percent for $17.6 million and $12.3 million, respectively. Pixar’s Cars 2 rounded out the top five with $8.3 million.

In limited release, the historical drama Snow Flower and the Secret Fan made $136,000 from 24 theaters, while the Errol Morris documentary Tabloid grossed $101,000 at 14 locations. Distributor ARC Entertainment hasn’t released a concrete estimate for the new Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated, but a source close to the film said it earned between $60,000 and $75,000 at 10 theaters. And Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris became the director’s top-grossing film with a cumulative tally of $41.8 million, passing his 1986 movie Hannah and Her Sisters.

Check back next week as the superhero flick Captain America: The First Avenger and the R-rated comedy Friends with Benefits attempt to spoil the Potter party.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 — $168.6 mil
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon — $21.3 mil
3. Horrible Bosses — $17.6 mil
4. Zookeeper — $12.3 mil
5. Cars 2 — $8.3 mil
6. Winnie the Pooh — $8.0 mil

More Harry Potter from EW:
Harry Potter Central
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2: EW movie recap!

Comments (172 total) Add your comment
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  • Qing

    How is this calculated? Sunday’s just begun.

    • Jenckles

      Sunday did just begin, but you can estimate from how many tickets that theaters report have been bought. So you can bet that Harry Potter has grossed $168 million OR around that mark. Either way, Harry Potter did and will break the record for biggest weekend opening (previously held by The Dark Knight).

      • Tom

        Transformers got slaughtered. Nice.

      • Mike

        Oh yeah…big competition with a 1st week movie vs. a 3rd week movie. If anything, that was still an impressive gross for Transformers in its 3rd week especially against the highly anticipated final chapter of Harry Potter. And I’m not defending either movie as I saw and enjoyed both but I thought the comment was a little ridiculous!

      • asif

        weekend actual is $169.3m

      • DGH

        @lydia
        so is it safe to say the same people that spam w/the same crap every day or the same ones who voted in Obama?

      • Necro

        Hey Jenckles, Supernatural sucks ass.
        Why do you think those guys don’t ever get nominated for anything.
        Zero talent.

    • Ja

      Sunday’s take is an estimated average based on previous attendence…that is why these numbers aren’t the final tally. Those final numbers come tomorrow.

    • LOL

      I have said numerous times before that Fast Five is the best movie of the year. Well, now I say Fast Five WAS the best movie of the year, and that honor now goes to Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows Pt.2.
      It blew me away orgasmicly.

    • LOL

      I have said numerous times before that Fast Five is the best movie of the year. Well, now I say Fast Five WAS the best movie of the year, and that honor now goes to Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows Pt.2.
      It blew me away orgasmicly!!

      • LOL

        Bah, quiet troll!
        America loves crap!

      • LOL

        We could have had it aaaaaalll….trolling in the deeeep.

      • Jeannie

        I love LOL. I am American. Americans love crap. LOL is crap.

      • gazmo

        Wow LOL!!
        Two orgasms in a row.

        Must be a record for you.

      • LOL

        Telling the truth doesn’t always make you popular.

      • gazmo

        Hving 2 orgasms in a row frequently DOES make you popular – at least with guys interested in pleasing a partner (or interested in filming her orgasms for his Facebook page).

      • Kelly

        You are right–DH2 is amazing. I saw it at a preview in Boston on Thrusday night. Amzaing.

      • Shashank

        and i thought armond white was annoying.

      • Shashank

        okay next time you make a movie.

    • District 12

      I think it might actually make more money than what is estimated, tried to go see it again tonight and the rest of the showings are sold out.

    • Jeremo25

      Maybe, the Academy will chose to honor a great story this year.

  • ben

    I saw Horrible Bosses Saturday. It’s a pretty good movie. Great performances all around and proud of its success.

    • Kyle

      I saw it too, and I thought it was HILARIOUS! One of the best comedies this year for sure, and possibly I’ve seen in a while. Everyone was just hilarious, and for me it now goes :
      1. Horrible Bosses
      2. Hangover

      • Rikie

        I get to teach the Hunger Games to my snutedts, how awesome is that? Can you imagine getting to read something like this for school? I’m pretty excited because this year we may have the opportunity to teach the book as a whole-class novel vs. a small group discussion group (literature circles). If you enjoyed the Hunger Games I would recommend reading Scott Westerfield’s series Uglies, Pretties, Specials and Extras. They just re-released the books with new covers and they are a pretty quick read, and again female protagonists. One of the perks of my job is that I get to stock my shelves with great new finds. I’m a fan of YA lit because it is coming into its own right now.

    • Liz Lemon

      I saw that one too on it’s opening weekend. It was pretty funny, but too short.

      • gazmo

        That’s what you said about Jack Donaghy’s weiner, Liz!!

      • Liz Lemon

        Lmao!

    • milton vera

      i like t0 see action mvies

    • Polly

      Detective: “You wanna explain why you were speeding?”
      Nick: “I was drag racing.”
      Detective: “In a Prius?”
      Nick: “I don’t win a lot.”

    • Dani

      Agreed, and Polly, that conversation cracked me up and ever since I saw Horrible Bosses, every time I see a Prius I think of that exchange!

      • Rachel

        I’m not a Harry Potter fan at all, and I’ve read none of Rowlings books. No active aeorsivn here, just not to my tastes. I have, however, seen all of the films, but one, because my partner likes them. We saw the first one with friends some years ago, and mt partner, sometimes with friends, sometimes not, has seen all the subsequent ones. A relationship is a give and take, and so I’ve gone with him to all of them, with the exception of the one prior to this one. They are all well crafted and can only be described visually complex and imaginative. The story line has never much appealed to me, and I think one reason my partner likes them is that he was raised on the C. S. Lewis CHRONICLES OF NARNIA stories as part of his religious education. I will say that in England, the Potter books are ubiquitous and you find them in the homes of the elitite and the plebian; read by intellectuals and the barely literate alike. In general, ANY books that get people to read who would otherwise not do so are good thing even if they are ideologically poisonous. Get a man to read and you’ve given him a chance at expanding his world dramatically, and often for the better.This last film of the Harry Potter series is different than the rest that I have seen in that its technical execution and artistic vision have transcended any genre. You may not appreciate the artisic atmosphere if you don’t find Urbex landscapes, like those in BEAUTY IN DECAY appealing. However, I think any objective viewer would be hard pressed not to appreciate the unbelieveable technical realism supra-realism, in fact with which the film is executed. It is possible for me, and I think for many others, to see technical mastery so vast, and to be in awe of it, even if it is being used to materialize a world we are not enamored of. I must have spent a good portion of the film imagining how those tools could be used at my command to create my imagined worlds and the results were very satisfying. I’ve not seen anyof the TWILIGHT or the HBO TRUE BLOOD films. The latter have come highly recommended by a broad cross sectioon of friends, and I very much liked Alan Ball’s SIX FEET UNDER series. In fact, I own it on DVD. One final word; don’t keep yourself too cloistered, or otherwise isolated,even from a psychopathic culture. Diversity in stimulation is essential to intellectual and psychological health and one of the things that it teaches you is that there are excellent, and often powerful tools to learn about, even in the hands of, and when develped by moral bankrupts and monsters. By interacting with a vast range of people, I’ve learned that ther are very valuable and powerful things to be learned almost everwhere you look. The most debauched human being often has as much or more to teach about the nature of life and being as the most venerated saint and sometimes, I think, quite a lot more. If you are not familiar with the works of Leni Refienstahl, she is a classic case in point. She developed and entire new genre in film and her artistic sense is one that has not only endured, but come to thoroughly permeate the culture. Mike Darwin

    • Justin

      Yeah, I just saw it today. That movie was freaking hilarious! Right up there with The Hangover. The “colorful descriptions” they had for their horrible bosses had me rolling!

  • Liz Lemon

    Damn! That’s a lot of money. But it’s just 2pm on Sunday where I am, so I’m assuming it’s an estimate.

    • J0

      Yes…which is why it says in the paragraph opening sentence “studio estimates…”

    • Jenckles

      Again, an estimate but an almost accurate one (95%). If you follow box-office results every weekend (like I do), you’d know these results that come out early Sunday are almost always close to the final mark. So yeah, Harry Potter broke the record for biggest midnight opening/biggest opening day gross/biggest weekend opening ever.

      • Devin Faraci

        Not if you adjust for inflation, idiot!

      • AcaseofGeo

        @Devin, if you count inflation, Gone With The Wind is the #1 movie of all time. Not Titanic from 98 to 2009 and CERTAINLY NOT Avatar.

      • erin

        @Devin. Is that really necessary?

      • Liz Lemon

        @AcaseofGeo: Titanic isn’t the #1…Avatar is remember.

      • Jose

        Wasn’t Gone With The Wind released like 9 times? If you count just 1 release, the all-time money maker would be Avatar.

      • Jose

        Actually, it would be Gone With the Wind, gosh its weird commenting to myself.

      • Jose

        The Sound of Music, not Gone with the Wind.

  • dave

    Harry Potter was a real money grab for the movie theaters. I checked the AMC web site and saw that Sunday morning matinees were 6 bucks. When I got to the theater, tickets were 11 bucks. For a Sunday morning matinee. It’s bad enough they charge 11 bucks for any movie but on a freaking Sunday morning?? What a disgrace. Count me among those who severely plan to limit seeing movies in theaters now that the chains are really screwing us all over with these prices. I have a limit for any movie and that price was 10 bucks.

    • @dave

      I agree. I saw a matinee of it yesterday at 3pm and tickets are usually about $5 and they were $8.50. WTF?!

    • J0

      Did you see 3D and/or IMAX? — if so, regardless of the chain, you will pay more even at the matinee.

      • LOL

        Power Passes at IMAX allow you to see features for $5 and skip the line. The passes pay for themselves ($40) very quickly.

      • Akane

        I think anything that can help make an actsrabt concept more clear and accessible is fair game. Many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around the message and character of Christ, particularly the first time they hear it. If drawing parallels to something familiar helps a person deepen their understanding, then I think that’s reason enough to do it.I see this kind of thing with my three year old daughter all the time- she’ll come up to me and say something like your hair’s brown like Emily’s dog is brown, and my hair is brown but not like that. She’s telling me that she is beginning to understand shades and the complexities of the word brown, but she doesn’t know how to express it like that. Baby Christians’ understanding is often the same way- they may be beginning to understand God’s unconditional love for his children, but may only be able to express that in terms of Harry’s mom willingly giving up her life to save him (or whatever the parallels are, I haven’t really looked in to that).

    • TheIntersect

      AMC is $6 before noon. I got that price so you have some shady managers at your theater or you “accidentally” paid for 3D or IMAX.

    • Michael

      Normally I’d be among those complaining about high ticket prices… but HP7, part 2 is an exception, for which I completely feel it was worth every penny of the $17.50 I paid to see it on IMAX 3-D. The next movie I’ll pay for that will be The Hobbit. For any other movie though, I would consider that a huge rip off. But not for Potter or Tolkien.

      • ussbrattain

        hmm, dont forget star wars or star trek movies,..i`d pay that much to see them.

      • Liz Lemon

        Exactly. There are a few exceptions: Hobbit, Batman, Potter, and that’s about it.
        I can wait on the others to hit netflix.

    • Charles

      I saw it yesterday at a Cinemark (Century) theater in the Portland area and they honored the first showing of the day “Early Bird Special” price of $6 as usual. Of course, then I got stuck with the $3.50 “3D Fee”. Wasn’t overly impressed by the 3D (and it gives me a bit of a headache)but enjoyed the movie so I wasn’t complaining.

    • shellhev

      Obviously it depends on what part of the country you are in. I went to an AMC theater at 11:40a.m. and tickets were $5 before noon. If I had wanted to go to a 3D movie after noon it would have been $13.50.

      • shellhev

        I didn’t tell my story completely. I didn’t go to a 3D version, but I saw someone else payed $17.50 for that version somewhere so I was just listing the price here in my post.

    • gazmo

      Serves you right MORONS!!!

      There’s ABSOLUTELY no freaking need to see a movie the first day, first weekend or first week.

      I think they should charge all you “ME FIRST!!!” Aholes $35 a ticket . . . because you would ALL pay it.

      BwaHaHaHaHaHaha!!!

      • Roy

        tite chou dit:Che8re J.K. Rowling,j’adore vos romans d’Harry Potter, sutorut le dernier. C’est dommage qu’ils ne soient pas e0 Poudlard, mais c’est super! Ron et Hermione sont toujours drf4les et fide8les e0 Harry. La fin est tre8s bien, heureusement que Harry ne meurt pas, e7a aurait e9te9 trop triste !!! C’est triste pour Sirius, Dumbledore et tous les autres dans le 7e8me. Mon personnage pre9fe9re9 c’est Ron, il est beate des fois ! Harry est trop courageux et fort pour battre vous-savez-qui (Voldemort, quoi!^^)Harry Potter,c’est trop bien!

  • m1

    Wow. Unfortunately I couldn’t contribute to this phenomenal weekend, but I will certainly be seeing it next Saturday. Remarkable.

  • Liz Lemon

    Also, who is watching Transformers 3? And why?

    • m1

      Fanboys, I guess.

    • Joe

      People who love movies that are painfully unfunny comedies for 75% of their bloated runtimes.

      • DRG

        People who love crap.

    • Jack D

      Lemon, don’t fail to underestimate the American public’s ongoing love of crap.

    • Swarles Barkley

      I’m sure there are people that want to watch Transformers but $20 million worth?! Wow!

      • Liz Lemon

        Make that over $300 million worth in the United States alone.

  • rhea

    happy it ended the way it should, with a bang! it has been amazing growing up with both the books and the movies

  • KB/KT Grant

    I wonder if Michael Bay saw Harry Potter this weekend?

    • Jeff

      I know I didn’t, and don’t plan on seeing it

      • CeCe

        OK. We were wondering. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Jose

    It’s great considering it made so much money yet disappointing since it was expected to make $180-200 million based on Friday’s results. Was there a huge drop because people were scared of crowds or it was extremely frontloaded? If its the former it might hold and perform well through the week when theaters are usually quiet.

    And I feel bad for Pooh, he deserves better. Hooray for Woody Allen though, that movie was awesome.

    • Kevin7

      I think that happened a little bit. I was anxious to see it this weekend but the thought of so many people made me decide to wait until next weekend.

  • Buttmunch

    Harry Potter 7 sucked! what a peice of butt final! i will buy the dvd when it comes out tho, so i can wipe my butt with it! if you havent seen the movie yet then “SPOILER ALERT” you pay for a movie ticket to sit next to some buttface fanboy and for all the hype you will see harry spread his butt on the big screen to reveil to all that he has not wiped! this movie is BUTTMUNCH!

    • Woot

      A very well thought out critique with a plethora of valid points. I will point out that you overused the words “butt,” “wipe,” and “munch” however, that shouldn’t take away from the overall brilliance of your comment.

    • Lyrak

      You are a sad little man, Bm, and your user name says it all.

      • Justin

        Well said, Lyrak.

    • Liz Lemon

      Lol. Wow.

  • Woot

    Thought it would make more. New Moon beat HP part II in terms of attendance. Darn. Still, it’s the best reviewed wide release of the year so far… so here’s hoping it will have some legs (despite the huge friday to saturday drop.)

    • m1

      Really? I heard that HP Part II was more attended.

      • Woot

        Opening day yes. According to boxofficemojo, it failed to beat it attendance wise for the weekend.

      • Liz Lemon

        Who cares though? I don’t see why that matters?

    • Jerry

      Well, the difference is that Twilight fans are young girls that will see the movie 7 or 8 times.

      Potter fans are all ages and – even if they’d like to – tend to have other things to do than pay to see the same movie 7 or 8 times. Potter fans have lives.

      • Megan

        Right, like all the money came from anyone but Potterheads. You think that all of a sudden casual moviegoers who didn’t care for the first seven films will jump on this, the second half of the seventh chapter in a continuity-and-mythology heavy series? Potterheads (which is admittedly a large group) are watching this many times too. In the end, don’t expect great legs (HP has never been a leggy franchise) and expect next weekend drop to also surpass New Moon’s second week’s decline.

      • Woot

        Megan, if you read Jerry’s comment, he specifically said that it is Potter fans who are seeing this movie. He just commented that Potter fans are more varied and tend to be more sensible than Twilight fans.

    • daisy

      yeah I think you are wrong on that. I in fact I read on CNN that it beat New Moon attendance.

  • Buttmunch

    Potter fans have lives? tell that to the two wizards i was sandwiched between when i went to see this buttmunch of a movie.

    • Lyrak

      Why did you even bother attending the film?

    • Molly

      You went to the final movie of a series that’s lasted eleven years and was based on the books that changed literature forever on the opening weekend. What on earth did you expect?

      • Jeff

        Changed literature? I’ve not read any of the books and only saw the 6th movie and 7th part 1 movie because my wife wanted me to go (fell asleep during parts of both movies). So, obviously Harry Pooper (oops I mean Potter) didn’t change my life.

      • Asha

        Jeff, if you haven’t bothered to crack a book then of course you won’t appreciate Harry Potter. Frankly I’m surprised you were able to get online to post your brilliant critique.

  • Radzinsky

    The image you used for this article isn’t even in the movie, LOL.

    • Walker

      Except for the part where it was…

    • Someone wasn’t paying attention

      obviously you were not paying attention as it was in there…

    • Liz Lemon

      Nope. Radzinsky is right. This is not in the movie.
      It’s in the trailer, “Why do you live?” “Because I have something worth living for,” but not in the film.

  • Phil

    The movie was clearly front loaded. There is no way it will beat TDK. The fact that it was unable to beat Spider-man 3’s Saturday record is a sign of that. Should have had a cast member die tragically.

    • Bobby

      Exactly.Next weekend will tell the tale of how much money HP will end up making in the U.S.

    • Fill

      Halle Berry in an orange bikini is front loaded.

      • Bobby

        Beautifully front-loaded at that.

    • Tank Girl

      A lot of that will depend on what ticket prices are when TDK comes out.

  • Daniel

    Best Of all Harry kicked Twilight’s sparkly tail

    • Twilight

      OMG, my tail IS all sparkly! Look at that! Sparkle sparkle, who’s got sparkle? Me! I’ve got to go show my sparkly derriere to those boys down at True Blood! Woof!

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