‘Deathly Hallows 2’ Beats All-Time Opening Weekend Box Office Records

The eighth and final installment in Warner Brothers’ (NYSE:TWX) Harry Potter franchise, which opened in the U.S. on Friday, has beaten every opening weekend box office record, both domestically and worldwide

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 grossed $476 million worldwide in its 3-day weekend box office, trouncing the previous record of $394 million held by the sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The film earned $307 million overseas, while earning $168.8 million domestically, taking that top spot from another Warner Brothers film, The Dark Knight, which opened to $158.4 million in 2008. And with that $307 million in foreign sales, Deathly Hallows 2 took the top spot from this year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which brought in $260.4 million.

Deathly Hallows 2 also stole the top spot for midnight showings, making $43.5 million of its domestic ticket sales just on 12:01 a.m. premieres in 3,800 theaters around the country, walloping the $30 million record set by another book-turned-movie franchise, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, just last year.

The film ultimately opened to 4,300 theaters this weekend, including 3,000 3D runs. Deathly Hallows 2 is the first Harry Potter film to be available in 3D, and sold out every single 3D midnight run in the country despite the general downturn in 3D (NYSE:RLD) attendance in the U.S., significantly boosting the film’s box office given the surcharge on 3D ticket sales.

Already in sixth place domestically in 2011 after just 3 days of sales, the film looks set to be this year’s biggest box office hit when all is said and done. It remains to be seen if the film can take the all-time box office record for total sales, currently held by 20th Century Fox‘s (NASDAQ:NWSA) Avatar, which brought in a grand total of $760.5 domestically and $2.78 billion worldwide.

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