FROM MTV MOVIES: There was little doubt that when the "Harry Potter" franchise finally came to a close after a decade-long presence at the multiplex, it would do so in epically lucrative fashion. But only when "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" actually began lighting up screens last Thursday at midnight did the true extent of its box-office power become clear: The film raked in a record $43.5 million at those early screenings and ended up shattering the three-day opening record of "The Dark Knight."
"While I assumed it would have the best 'Harry Potter' debut of all time, I wasn't quite sold on the fact that it could eclipse the 'Dark Knight' record, as none of the previous films, although highly successful, have ever approached that staggering number, despite having one of the most rabid fanbases filmdom has ever seen," said Jeff Bock, box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "This was monumental, as it seems everyone wanted to be a part of the discussion, everyone wanted to say goodbye to dear friends, and everyone wanted to experience the magic on the big screen one more time."
But not everyone wanted that magical experience in 3-D. While "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" benefited from the largest 3-D launch ever, according to Box Office Mojo, a majority of ticket buyers choose 2-D screenings, with just 43 percent of its total gross coming from 3-D screenings ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon," by comparison, earned 60 percent of its opening gross from 3-D showings). So, although "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" opening marks the second-biggest 3-D opening after "Alice in Wonderland," the last "Potter" film wasn't a 3-D must-see — it was a pop-culture must-see.