Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1, the penultimate chapter in the overwhelmingly popular saga of the lightning-scarred boy wizard, cast its spell over the Friday box office, taking in an estimated $61.2 million (including $24 million from midnight screenings Thursday night.) That makes it fifth best opening day in history, and the best opening day in the Potter franchise.
The film beat previous record holder Half-Blood Prince, which took in $58.2 million on opening day last year. However, with the rabid fanbase of the series, and the fact that this is close to the last Potter movie, the film is expected to come on frontloaded during the weekend, with likely drops in gross over Saturday and Sunday. All told, the film is still expected to do very well and could gross somewhere between $135-150 for the weekend.
Denzel Washington’s train thriller Unstoppable and Dreamworks’ latest CG animated tale Megamind vied for second place, with the action flick coming on top. Unstoppable banked $4.1 on Friday, versus Megamind‘s $3.7. However, Megamind will likely have a better Saturday, and take second place for the weekend. Both films will likely bank an additional $13-14 when the dust clears.
Due Date earned $2.9 for fourth place; weekend will likely be around $7-8 mil. Finally, Russell Crowe’s prison break drama The Next Three Days will likely be forgotten over the next three days. The Oscar winner’s fading career was hit with another poor-box-office blow as Days took in a miserable $2.2 million on Friday. The final tally will likely be less then $7 mil, making it the star’s poorest debut since A Good Year in 2006.
Check back in over the weekend when either me or The Carter will use our magic wands to zap up final tallies for all you armchair quarterbacks out there.