Most of the time, box office records (or near-records) come with qualifiers: Best opening for a non-sequel in February! Third-best Fourth of July weekend! Or, in the recent case of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, the ninth-highest six-day launch ever! So it’s an oddly authentic pleasure to announce that Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part II, the eighth and final adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s book about wizards and shit, broke the record for the biggest opening weekend ever. With $168.5 million, aided no doubt by 3-D surcharge-gouging, Harry Potter easily outpaced the previous record-holder, The Dark Knight, which made $10 million less and can now be retroactively deemed a commercial and artistic failure. In feeble counter-programming news, the critically adored but woefully promoted old-school animated version of Winnie The Pooh opened all the way back in sixth place with $8 million. Disney only invested $30 million in the project, and the company seems content with the film earning its money down the ancillary line.
It was a rough weekend, too, for arthouse fare, though Errol Morris’s crazily entertaining Tabloid enjoyed a healthy return, taking $7,200 per screen on 14 screens, enough to push it over the $100,000 mark. News was far grimmer for Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, Wayne Wang’s attempt to duplicate the success of his adaptation of The Joy Luck Club. A $5,670 per screen average on 24 screens may sound okay, but against a $6 million budget, it has to climb out of a big hole and lacks the critical support to give it a lift. Worse still was Life, Above All, a drama about the AIDS stigma in South African, which also rode middling reviews to worse-than-lackluster numbers, collecting just $2,860 per screen on five screens.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.