Box Office Report: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' debuts to franchise-best $125.1 mil

Well done, Potter. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 posted the franchise’s best opening ever by grossing $125.1 million this weekend, according to studio estimates. That figure smashes the wizarding series’ prior opening-weekend record of $102.7 million, held by 2005?s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The new Potter flick also registered the sixth largest opening weekend of all time, landing just behind this year’s Iron Man 2, which debuted to $128.1 million in May.

Deathly Hallows launched its weekend spell late Thursday night when 3,700 theaters screened the PG-13 fantasy movie at midnight. (Some theaters arranged showings as late as 3:15 a.m.). The movie gathered $24 million from those screenings en route to a Friday tally of $61.2 million — the fifth best opening day, period. After Friday, Deathly Hallows essentially followed the box-office trajectory of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which was released on the same November weekend last year. New Moon earned a record $72.7 million its opening day, and then fell 42 and 34 percent on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Deathly Hallows held up a tad better, dropping 38 percent on Saturday (for $38.2 million) and an estimated 33 percent on Sunday (for $25.8 million). While Warner Bros. may have preferred a somewhat steadier ride from Deathly Hallows, no one’s complaining, least of all moviegoers — CinemaScore audiences gave the movie an "A" grade.

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