Like a fine wine, “Harry Potter” only gets better with age — at least when it comes to midnight debuts.
The seventh film in the boy-wizard franchise, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ conjured up $24 million domestically from early Friday morning (November 19) screenings, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com. In so doing, the film outstripped last year’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which nabbed $22.2 million from midnight showings, to land the #3 spot on the all-time list for midnight debuts.
The only movies ahead of it belong to another cinematic series that has captivated teens: “The Twilight Saga.” Last summer’s “Eclipse” ranks first with a whopping $30 million from its midnight showings, and 2009′s “New Moon” is a close second with $26.3 million.
While “Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ didn’t exactly suck the life out of its vampire competition in the midnight-screenings department, the film is well on its way to a magical box-office run. Hollywood.com box-office prognosticator Paul Dergarabedian is forecasting an opening weekend well north of $100 million, which would make it only the second “Potter” film to achieve that feat (2005′s “Goblet of Fire” tallied $102.7 million in its opening frame). Other analysts are estimating that it could earn as much as $130 million, solidifying it a spot in the top-five opening weekends in history.
So will “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1″ eventually beat out the franchise-topping $317 million domestic gross of the first film in the series, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”? Largely positive reviews certainly won’t hurt it. And neither will the fact that it is “Part 1″ of the epic saga’s finale and should draw repeat viewings from fans who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye. Of course, any records “Part 1″ does set will likely be broken when “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2″ hits theaters in July.
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