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‘Potter’ Takes Down Batman With $168.6M Weekend

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(L-R) Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis attend the New York premiere of 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2' at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on July 11, 2011 in New York City. (credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

(L-R) Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis attend the New York premiere of ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2′ at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on July 11, 2011 in New York City. (credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The boy wizard has vanquished the dark knight with a record-setting magic act at the weekend box office.

Warner Bros. estimates that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ took in $168.6 million domestically from Friday to Sunday. That beats the previous best opening weekend of $158.4 million, also held by Warner Bros. for 2008’s Batman blockbuster “The Dark Knight.”

The studio had not yet released international numbers for the full weekend, but “Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ has been working the same charms since it began rolling out overseas Wednesday. Through Friday, the film had taken in $157.5 million internationally, putting it on course to become the franchise’s first billion-dollar worldwide hit.

“This will be the biggest `Harry Potter’ by far,” said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. “A billion dollars is definitely going to happen.”

The current franchise high is $974.8 million worldwide for the first film, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” 10 years ago.

“Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ does have the advantage of 3-D screenings, which cost a few dollars more than 2-D shows. Because of the higher 3-D price, plus regular inflation, “Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ sold fewer tickets than “The Dark Knight” over opening weekend.

The “Harry Potter” finale also set a record for best opening day domestically Friday with $92.1 million, nearly $20 million ahead of the previous high for “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” two years ago.

Other records for “Deathly Hallows: Part 2: best domestic gross for debut midnight shows at $43.5 million, topping the $30 million for last year’s “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”; best domestic opening in huge-screen IMAX theaters with $15.5 million, surpassing the $12.2 million for last year’s “Alice in Wonderland”; and best worldwide IMAX debut with $23.5 million, beating the $20.4 million for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” two weeks ago.

Paramount’s third “Transformers” blockbuster, which had been No. 1 the previous two weekends, slipped to second-place with $21.3 million domestically. It remains the year’s top domestic hit with $302.8 million.

The weekend’s other new wide release, Disney’s animated family flick “Winnie the Pooh,” got swamped by “Harry Potter” mania. A return to the hand-drawn animation style of earlier adaptations of A.A. Milne’s beloved storybook characters, “Winnie the Pooh” pulled in just $8 million domestically, finishing at No. 6.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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