LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British boy wizard Harry Potter made movie magic again at weekend box offices as the newest chapter, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” cast a spell in more than 50 countries and collected $330 million in global ticket sales.
That tally includes a best-ever U.S. and Canadian debut of $125.1 million in this latest adventure of the teenage sorcerer and his friends at Hogwarts school. Six previous “Potter” films collected $5.4 billion globally for the Warner Bros studio.
In the United States and Canada, last week’s champ, comedy “Megamind,” came in a distant second with $16.2 million, just ahead of runaway train flick “Unstoppable” with $13.1 million. But given the popularity of the “Potter” movies, the other movies had not been expected to be much competition for No. 1.
The $125.1 million for “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” beat the previous best weekend debut for a “Potter” film in the United States and Canada, which was $102.7 million for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” in November 2005.
“Deathly Hallows: Part 1” rode up the box office charts to land at No. 6 on the list of all-time best weekend debuts, just behind the $128.1 million from “Iron Man 2” earlier this year.
The movie, which is based on the final installment of the series of best-selling books by author J.K. Rowling, collected more than $30,000 per theater in just over 4,100 U.S. and Canadian venues. By contrast, “Megamind” took in $4,300 per location in nearly 3,800 theaters.
Giant screen IMAX theaters generated $12.4 million of the U.S. and Canadian total of the “Potter” movie for a new IMAX record, beating “Alice in Wonderland” and its $12.1 million IMAX debut, according to Hollywood.com Box-Office.
The movie played in some 54 overseas countries with highlights being 17.5 million pounds ($28 million) in the United Kingdom and A$15 million ($14 million) in Australia.
Germany turned in a debut of 16 million euros, or around $21.8 million, while Japan showed 1.2 billion yen worth of ticket sales ($14 million), according to Warner Bros.
Ahead of the weekend, Warner Bros said it expected “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” to break the $100 million barrier in the United States and Canada, while some box office watchers speculated it could reach as high as $150 million.
But only two previous movies have broken into that range. Batman film “The Dark Knight” has the best-ever debut with $158 million in 2008, and No. 2 “Spider-Man 3” had a $151 million debut in 2007, according to Hollywood.com Box-Office.
Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros, told Reuters that “Deathly Hallows” performed well among all audiences and core fans had not wavered in their support.
“What sets this apart is that the audience has aged right along with the movie and the cast,” Fellman said.
He declined to forecast a final domestic box office tally when the movie ends, but did say that he believed it would “start with a 3,” meaning somewhere north of $300 million.
Of six previous “Potter” movies, only two have ended above that, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” ($317 million) and “Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince” ($301 million).
Rounding out the top five films in the United States and Canada were comedy “Due Date,” in the No. 4 spot with $9.1 million, and behind it was the debut of the Russell Crowe drama, “The Next Three Days,” with $6.8 million.
Warner Bros, which also released “Due Date,” is a unit of Time Warner Inc. “Megamind” was produced by DreamWorks Animation Inc and released by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.
“Unstoppable was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp, and “The Next Three Days” was distributed by the film division of Lions Gate Entertainment.
Editing by Vicki Allen