Just how big was this weekend's opening of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I'? Well, take the combined earnings of the other nine movies in this weekend's top 10, about $60 million, then double that number, and you still won't reach the sales figure that 'Potter' conjured up.
According to studio estimates, 'Potter' earned $125.1 million this weekend, a record for the franchise that far surpasses the $102.7 million earned by 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' in 2005, the last time a 'Potter' picture opened over just a three-day weekend. 'Deathly Hallows' also set a franchise record with $24 million in midnight screenings on Friday morning. Its full Friday take was $61.2 million, yet another franchise record and the fifth-biggest single-day sales figure in box office history. If that $125.1 million figure holds after final numbers are released on Monday, it will be the sixth biggest opening weekend of all time, behind May's 'Iron Man 2' ($128.1 million).
Even with such staggering numbers, 'Deathly Hallows' still slightly underperformed predictions, which anticipated a take as high as $130 million. Maybe that's because the movie still faced a small amount of family-audience competition from 'Megamind,' still going strong with an estimated $16.2 million in its third weekend. It still boasts an enormous screen count (3,779 venues, second behind 'Potter's' 4,125), so if 'Potter' screenings were sold out, chances are good 'Megamind' was still playing next door. In three weeks, it's earned $109.5 million.
'Unstoppable' was third this weekend with an estimated $13.1 million, down just 42 percent from last week's opening. In 10 days, the runaway train thriller has earned $42.0 million.
In fourth place, 'Due Date' was the weekend's top comedy, with an estimated $9.2 million and a modest third-weekend drop of 40 percent. It's grossed $72.7 million to date.
Opening at No. 5, Russell Crowe's action thriller 'The Next Three Days' disappointed with just an estimated $6.8 million. In a weekend dominated by Harry Potter, expectations were low to begin with, but Crowe's movies these days tend to open between $11 and $14 million. Apparently, there was still plenty of competition for the guy audience with 'Unstoppable' and 'Due Date.' Hey, is it too late for Crowe to get himself cast in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II'?
The full top 10:
1. 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I,' $125.1 million (4,125 screens), new release
2. 'Megamind,' $16.2 million (3,779), $109.5 million total
3. 'Unstoppable,' $13.1 million (3,209), $42.0 million
4. 'Due Date,' $9.2 million (3,229), $72.7 million
5. 'The Next Three Days,' $6.8 million (2,564), new release
6. 'Morning Glory,' $5.2 million (2,544, $19.9 million
7. 'Skyline,' $3.4 million (2,883), $17.6 million
8. 'Red,' $2.5 million (2,034), $83.6 million
9. 'For Colored Girls,' $2.4 million (1,216), $34.5 million
10. 'Fair Game,' $1.5 million (386), $3,7 million
•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.