'Harry Potter' rakes in $24 million from midnight shows, falls short of 'Twilight'
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1" sold $24 million in tickets in its debut late Thursday night with shows that started at or soon after midnight, according to an estimate from Warner Bros.
That's $1.8 million more than the last movie in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," brought in from midnight shows when it debuted in June 2009.
It's well short, however, of the record set in July by "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," which grossed more than $30 million during its late-night launch.
In fact, "Deathly Hallows" is the No. 3 midnight opening of recent years, also coming up behind November 2009's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which kicked off its opening weekend with $26.3 million.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1" is on track for a huge opening weekend of more than $100 million. Now that it didn't break any records in midnight shows, however, it's less likely the picture will top the $158-million debut in 2008 of "The Dark Knight," which stands as the biggest opening weekend ever, not accounting for ticket price inflation.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Fans play while waiting for a midnight screening of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1" in Harrisonburg, Va. Credit: Traci White / Associated Press