"Harry Potter" smashes "Spider-Man" records

Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:10pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Harry Potter cast a spell over moviegoers worldwide as the sixth entry in the fantasy franchise set a new opening record of $396.7 million, a clear sign that the lucrative franchise has lost none of its magic.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" earned $159.7 million in the United States and Canada, the sixth-biggest opening for a five-day period, distributor Warner Bros. Pictures said on Sunday.

The international component stands at $237 million from 84 markets, also setting a new record.

The old records were held by "Spider-Man 3" in 2007 when its global bow of $381.7 million included foreign sales of $230.5 million.

In North America, the new film outpaced its predecessor, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which opened to $139.7 million two years ago. That picture ended with $938 million worldwide, the seventh-biggest movie of all time before accounting for inflation.

But while the five-day sum was impressive, it was dwarfed by the $200 million opening for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" last month, which was just $3.8 million behind the record set last year by "The Dark Knight."

Top international markets for the new film included Britain with $32.4 million, Germany with $23 million, France with $20.2 million and Japan with $18.2 million.

"We are thrilled with the record-setting international results this weekend, showing that Harry Potter's audiences continue to grow as the characters mature with every installment in the series," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of international distribution at the Time Warner Inc-owned studio.


<p>Actors (L-R) Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint arrive for the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" in New York July 9, 2009. REUTERS/Jamie Fine</p>