Deathly Hallows Part 2's first weekend flew past the previous franchise high of $125 million, posted by Deathly Hallows Part 1 last November, and it topped the franchise in terms of estimated attendance as well. While its opening gross also out-distanced The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3 ($151.1 million), The Twilight Saga: New Moon ($142.8 million), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($135.6 million) and the first Spider-Man ($114.8 million), Deathly Hallows Part 2's estimated opening attendance was less than those titles, ranking sixth overall.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 marked Harry Potter's first foray into 3D, and it made a splash with the broadest 3D launch ever (3,100-plus locations, including 274 in IMAX). However, the majority of moviegoers still opted to see the movie in the standard ("2D") format. 3D accounted for 43 percent of the gross, which was a lower share than Transformers: Dark of the Moon's 60 percent at the same point but in the ballpark of most of this summer's other big movies. Still, at an estimated $72.8 million, that translated to the second biggest-grossing 3D opening yet, behind Alice in Wonderland (2010)'s $81.3 million. In IMAX alone, Deathly Hallows Part 2 delivered the top-grossing start ever, generating $15.2 million versus Alice's second-place $12.2 million.
According to Warner Bros., 54 percent of Deathly Hallows Part 2's audience was female, compared to 57 percent for the last movie, and 45 percent was under 25 years old, compared to 56 percent for the last movie.
As a franchise, Harry Potter has now grossed $2.177 billion, and it's on the brink of eclipsing Star Wars' $2.218 billion to become the top-grossing franchise in history. In terms of estimated attendance, though, the eight Potter movies have had 57 percent of the impact of the seven Star Wars movies. Star Wars even wins on this front when just its initial releases are counted. However, Harry Potter has earned its place in the pantheon with remarkably consistent blockbuster performances. After Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the sequels' maximum attendance difference was less than 20 percent. That first movie, though, should remain the best-attended, even as Deathly Hallows Part 2 becomes the top-grossing entry.
Since Deathly Hallows Part 2 alone accounted for nearly two out of every three tickets sold this weekend, there was little excitement for the rest of the movies. Transformers: Dark of the Moon retreated 55 percent to $21.3 million. Though it didn't gain ground on its predecessors, the robo-threequel became the first movie of 2011 to cross the $300 million milestone, tallying $302.9 million in 19 days.
Horrible Bosses took a respectable hit, down 37 percent to $17.8 million. The comedy held better than Bad Teacher and matched that movie's $60 million ten-day sum. Zookeeper continued its disappointing run with $12.3 milion, though it was off a decent 39 percent. Its $42.4 million ten-day tally was less than two thirds of Paul Blart: Mall Cop through Day Ten. Cars 2 rounded out the Top Five with $8.4 million, slowing 45 percent. With a $165.4 million total in 24 days, the animated sequel began trailing Ratatouille in terms of gross, not just attendance, for a 12-year Pixar low.
In the face of Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh started with a whimper: $7.8 million at 2,405 locations. That was an improvement over Pooh's Heffalump Movie, it was less-attended than Piglet's Big Movie and The Tigger Movie. Distributor Walt Disney Pictures' exit polling indicated that 85 percent of the audience was parents and their children, and 62 percent was female. In terms of age, 38 percent was kids age 11 years old and younger, while 53 percent was 18 and older.