Scenes from 'Harry Potter's Record-Shattering Opening Weekend

The final installment of the franchise scored the highest opening of all time

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Everyone knew the final Harry Potter was going to make an unprecedented, even indecent amount of money at the box office this weekend. It's the final film in a franchise beloved by an entire generation. The reviews were practically magical. It's first overnight sales made more money that President Obama made from donors in the last quarter! The only question, really, was just how many records it would break. And as The Hollywood Reporter indicates today, it seems to have broken them all.

Domestically, the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 grossed a "staggering $168.6 million," surpassing the record set by Warners’ The Dark Knight, which opened to $158.4 million. The international numbers are not finalized at this point, but once they come in, the movie "should also be able to claim the top launch of all time at the worldwide box office." The Friday numbers gave the movie a "mammoth global cume of $249.6 million," setting the film up to beat the $394 million earned by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in its debut.

So what does the biggest box office opening in film history look like around the world? Local reports from all over the world capture the enthusiasm, and even obsession, that filled theaters Friday night. One Patch reporter from New Jersey described:

Some came in cloaks, capes, and scarves. Others wore beards, masks, and wigs. However they dressed, they arrived in droves... By 11:30, the theater lobby was jam-packed... In the lobby, the girls wore Harry Potter glasses and used eyeliner to draw his zigzag scar on each others’ foreheads.

In Orlando, one group of Potter fans was escorted straight from their seats in the movie theater right to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. And in New York, the Village Voice reports that fans celebrated the final film by playing Quidditch in the park:

The International Quidditch Association hosted a Deathly Hollows Round-Robin Tournament at De Witt Clinton Park on 53rd Street yesterday. Three teams were in attendance, and every team played at least four games. While we were there, a crew from the Daily Show walked over from their studio across the street to get some footage for a sketch.

The Los Angeles Times reports from a marathon screening the the previous even films north of Chicago:

In attendance were 10-year-old Alex Garner and her grandmother, Terri Green. Alex was grim when asked if there would be life after "Harry Potter."

"I am really sad because this is sad, and this means there's nothing to look forward to. Nothing."

Green, jumped in, trying to be positive: "We're fans of the 'Twilight' series, though. Right?"

"No," the girl said, "we're not."

Perhaps nowhere was there more enthusiasm than in the premieres through London. The London Evening Standard caught up with the fans right outside of the theaters:

Miss Salles, 25, a law student from Rio de Janeiro, said: "People were crying and shouting and laughing."

Simon Martin, 24, a nursing student from Elephant and Castle, said: "I'm in shock. It was better than I could have hoped for and blew my mind. It said epic on all the trailers and they weren't lying. Everyone cried."

For others, the countdown was an even more life-affecting affair. From CNN International's report:

In London, an American student pulled on a "Undesirable #1" T-shirt and paced in his flat, eagerly counting down the hours until the premiere of the movie.

Jesse Vineyard, 21, said the final Potter premiere factored his decision to study abroad this summer.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.