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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" found a pot of gold on its first full day in theaters, collecting an estimated $61.2 million in the United States and Canada on Friday.
That includes $24 million in box office from a record 3,700 locations offering midnight Thursday performances of the seventh Potter movie. The first of two films based on the final book in the Potter book series, "Hallows: Part 1" is now on track to ring up $150 million or more through Sunday from 4,124 theaters in the U.S. and Canada this weekend.
Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" stands as the best opening ever after bowing with $158.4 million in July 2008. The last Potter release, July 2009 opener "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" conjured $77.8 million during its first three days and $302 million in total U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.
The franchise marked its best opening to date in November 2005, when "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" debuted with $102.7 million.
The $317.6 million fetched by the original "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" stands as its biggest cumulative total in the U.S. and Canada, and many consider "Hallows: Part 1" will likely fetch $400 million or more in domestic box office by the end of its theatrical run.
Elsewhere among the daily rankings, Lionsgate's Russell Crowe starrer "The Next Three Days" collected $2.5 million in fifth place in its first day of release on Friday. Helmed by "Crash" director Paul Haggis, the action thriller could be limited to the middle to high single-digit millions through Sunday.
"Megamind" from DreamWorks and Paramount grossed $4.5 million in the first day of its third weekend session for $97.8 in cumulative box office and a second-place ranking on Friday.
Denzel Washington starrer "Unstoppable" fetched $4.1 million to rank third on Friday with eight-day total ticket sales of $32.9 million, while Warners comedy "Due Date" was fourth with $2.9 million and $66.4 million domestic box office at the start of its third weekend.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte