'Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince' Breaks Midnight Records

Tuesday night's screenings take in $20 million, the biggest midnight opening ever.

Record-breaking midnight releases are expected from summer blockbusters such as of [movie id="369059"]"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"[/movie] and [movie id="306605"]"The Dark Knight."[/movie] But no one expects them from a "Harry Potter" film.

Sure, it's a massive franchise, with analysts expecting this week's release — "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" — to push the series' gross over the $5 billion mark. At the end of the day, though, these are movies with family appeal, and midnight turnouts for kid wizards can't possibly compete with giant robots and bat men. Can they?

Yes, they sure can. "Half-Blood Prince" took home somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million in its midnight opening, according to a report in Variety. The sixth "Potter" flick now sits at #1 for all-time midnight openings, beating out "The Dark Knight" ($18 million) and "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" ($17 million).

The $20 million figure is an impressive jump after the previous film's — "Order of the Phoenix" — not-shabby $12 million opening in 2007. Perhaps the nearly doubled "Half-Blood" take is a result of the two-year vacuum of new "Potter" content. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the final book in the series, hit bookshelves in 2007. The "Half-Blood" movie adaptation was originally set for a fall 2008 release, and fans were driven into a frenzy when the studio pushed it back to this summer.

The decision to change the release date was questioned at the time, but if last night's box-office performance is any indication, Warner Bros. made the right choice. Now we're all left to wonder how the two-part adaptation of "Deathly Hallows" will fare.

Check out everything we've got on "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

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