The long awaited quasi-final chapter in the Harry Potter film franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is finally in theaters.
While the film is sure to take in enormous box office dollars this weekend, Deathly Hallows also managed to secure $24 million in midnight release money.
Despite the dedication of all those muggles who braved the long lines, and late hours, the $24 million wasn't enough to steal the midnight box office release record from the other young-adult fantasy book series-turned film franchise, Twilight. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse previously racked up $30 million in midnight release money - and went on to gross over $300 million domestically.
However, Potter fanatics do have reason to smile, the film's $1.4 million in midnight IMAX tickets did eclipse the previous record holder, pun intended. The previous midnight IMAX record was $1 million - held by, that's right, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 should also have little problem burying Eclipse for the long haul - as The Twilight Saga, while certainly a phenomenon, still has significantly less appeal internationally. The prior Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince scored around $300 million domestically - racking up another $632 million internationally for a total take just under $1 billion. By comparison, Twilight: Eclipse also made around $300 million domestically - but only added $390 million from international audiences for a total run around $690 million. Eclipse made less money than its predecessor, New Moon (which scored a $709 million total haul) but don't mistake that for an indication that Twilight is losing steam - the Harry Potter films have seen similar fluctuations from movie to movie.
It'll still be interesting to see if Potter fans can secure other box office records with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - as well as Part 2, which arrives July 15, 2011. That said, even if Potter fans come out on top, Twi-hards will still have two more shots at earning records with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One), which opens November 18th 2011, as well as (Part Two) scheduled for November 16th 2012.
No matter where you fall in the battle of the fantasy books-turned films, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is set to score big numbers this weekend. Stay tuned to Screen Rant, we'll have the full box office report on Sunday.
Make sure to check out our own Kofi Outlaw's review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.