It’s the end of an era for fans of Harry Potter as the final movie, Deathly Hallows Part II, premières across the world today.
Many fans couldn’t wait and saw the film when it opened, on the stroke of midnight, after a Harry Potter marathon first, of course.
Advance ticket sales in the US alone have been estimated at a whopping $45 million, beating some releases even before the theatres have opened their doors.
The movie is already breaking industry records as it is being shown in more venues than ever before. It’s also set to show in 3D in 3000 cinemas across America, that’s almost 1000 more than record holder Avatar.
The one to beat for opening weekend sales is The Dark Knight, which took $158.4 million over three days in 2008.
“With the 3D and the huge sense of urgency among fans to be the first to see this film, it has as good a shot as you can have to break the record,” said Vincent Bruzzese, President of the Worldwide Motion Picture Group for research firm Ipsos OTX.
Harry Potter is one of the most successful franchises in the world but for fans, there will be nothing new after this as J.K. Rowling has stated that she won’t write any more Hogwarts stories.
First released in 1997, the books inspired the imagination of a generation, and at the time it was said they were responsible for ‘getting kids reading again’. The first film was out in 2001 and now, 7 books and 8 films later, Harry Potter is a worldwide phenomena with many young adults having grown-up with it.
The books have sold more than 400 million and been translated into 67 different languages. They have also won a host of industry awards including four Whitaker Platinum Book Awards.
All of the films released so far have appeared in the top 30 highest grossing films of all time and this latest movie is expected “to exceed the largest Harry Potter opening box office of all time,” according to a Warner Bros source.
At the 64th British Academy Film Awards in February this year, Rowling was joined by producers David Heyman and David Barron, along with directors David Yates, Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell in collecting the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.
Harry Potter has at times come in for criticism in some quarters but Deathly Hallows is so far enjoying the best reviews of any of the series. It seems that the silver screen Potter will go out on a bang.