'Deathly Hallows' Conjures Up $61.2 Mil on Friday

 Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 found a pot of gold on Day One, collecting an estimated $61.2 million in its first day of domestic release 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.

Warners’ 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 coin. The franchise marked its best opening to date in November 2005, when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire debuted with $102.7 million, and the $317.6 million fetched by the original Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone stands as its biggest domestic haul.

Many consider Hallows: Part 1 likely to fetch $400 million or more in domestic box office by the end of its theatrical run. Its big first-day tally included a record $5.1 million contribution by 239 high-grossing Imax venues. 

Elsewhere among the daily rankings, Lionsgate’s Russell Crowe starrer The Next Three Dayscollected $2.5 million in fifth place in its first day of release on Friday. Helmed by Crash director Paul Haggis, the PG-13 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 session for $97.8 in cumulative box office and a second place ranking on Friday. Fox’s Denzel Washington starrer Unstoppable fetched $4.1 million in third with an eight-day cume of $32.9 million, while Warners comedy  Due Date was fourth with $2.9 million and a $66.4 million cume at the start of its third weekend.

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