July 17, 2009 / 2:18 PM / in 9 years

New Harry Potter movie sets world opening record

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The latest “Harry Potter” movie cast a $104 million spell over worldwide box offices during its first day in theaters, setting a new record for the boy wizard, distributor Warner Bros Pictures said on Thursday.

Actress Emma Watson portrays the character Hermione Granger in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure film "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" in this undated publicity photograph. REUTERS/© 2009 Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R./Handout

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth in the film series based on the popular books by J.K. Rowling, grossed $58.18 million in North America and $45.85 million overseas on Wednesday, the Time Warner Inc-owned studio said.

The U.S.-Canadian tally, which includes a record $22.2 million from midnight showings, marks the second-biggest Wednesday opening domestically.

Only last month’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” scored a bigger midweek first-day gross, with $62 million in domestic ticket sales on Wednesday June 24, according to Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com.

The latest “Harry Potter” also ranks as the fourth-highest single-day gross for a film release in North America, behind No. 1 “Dark Knight” ($67.1 million), No. 2 “Transformers: Revenge,” and third-place “Spider-Man 3” ($59.8 million).

“Quite simply, we owe this record-breaking opening to the remarkable fans who have stood by us and who stood in line to be among the first to see ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’” Warner Bros President and Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn said in a statement.

Said Dergarabedian: “This is a tremendous opening. It’s in the box office stratosphere.”

The previous “Harry Potter” movie, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” also opened on a Wednesday last year with first-day domestic receipts of $44.2 million. That film went on to gross $937 million worldwide.

The first five films in the franchise, one of the most lucrative in Hollywood history, have so far taken in about $4.5 billion collectively at the global box office.

A scene from "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince". REUTERS/Warner Bros. Pictures/Handout

Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Steve Gorman; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Todd Eastham

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