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Potter pandemonium

”Deathly Hallows—Part 2” smashes box office records and casts a spell over legions of adoring fans

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2 vanquished the box office along with the Death Eaters, grossing a record-breaking $169.2 million in its first weekend. That officially displaces The Dark Knight‘s $158.4 million bow in 2008 as the best opening weekend in box office history. Among the other mind-boggling numbers to shake your wand at: a worldwide gross of $481.5 million in three days and a record $43.5 million earned at midnight screenings domestically in the wee hours of July 15.

Die-hard fans spurred the amazing performance, and for many of them, seeing the finale once wasn’t enough. ”I saw it twice yesterday,” said Ashley Hackworth, 21, in Los Angeles, ”at midnight and then at 2:55 a.m. I saw it in 2-D and in 3-D.” Nicole Goldstein, 24, a Potterhead in New York City with ”Mischief Managed” tattooed on her arm, vowed to watch Part 2 ”at least seven times” in honor of the seven books in the series.

The next big goal for Deathly Hallows—Part 2? The crown of highest-grossing Potter movie of all time in the U.S. (The Sorcerer’s Stone currently holds that title with $317.6 million.) If the robed lines extending around the block are any indication, it’s well on its way.

Biggest Opening Weekends Ever
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2 (2011)
$169.2 mil

The Dark Knight (2008)
$158.4 mil

Spider-Man 3 (2007)
$151.1 mil

(Additional reporting by Shaunna Murphy)