Three weeks ago I called one of the big local cinemas to order my Midnight showing tickets for the final Harry Potter film and was given some disappointing news – they were sold out. Three other movie theaters were also sold out on both 2D and 3D screens before I finally found a place where I could reserve some tickets. When I showed up last night the 20 screen megaplex had cancelled all of their evening shows to make room for the midnight release, which was sold out on all 20 screens. Demand was so high that they had added a 3:00am showing which was also sold out and they were considering adding more screens for that ungodly time. It was clear then that this movie’s opening weekend was going to be huge.
As the official numbers come in it is becoming clear that my suspicions were correct as according to The Hollywood Reporter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 brought in $43.5 million at midnight showings last night. This shatters the previous record holder Twilight Saga: Eclipse which earned $30 million during its midnight run. The other notable statistic in the mix is that all 3D screens that were offered were sold out, indicating that the 3D trend is not faltering as many suspected. This also was a major contributor to the financial boost that caused Deathly Hallows, Part 2 to crush the Twilight movies and previous Potter installments, all of which only got released in 2D.
Today Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 opens with the third widest release in history as it plays on 4,375 screens. It is easily on track to have the highest opening weekend of 2011 and is expected to rival The Dark Knight‘s opening weekend record of $158.4 million. Long term Box Office prospects are uncertain as this type of fan franchise typically brings in thousands of die-hards on opening weekend and declines quickly in the weeks that follow. Often it fails to draw in the older, casual movie-going audience that are more likely to be swayed by critical and public opinion. People who have not seen the seven movies that preceded Deathly Hallows, Part 2 are not likely to attend this one.
Did you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 at midnight? Share your experience in the comments!