'Harry Potter' Grosses $24 Million at Midnight Launch

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" grossed $24 million at 3,700 locations for its midnight launch Thursday, making the Warner Bros. title the most third-most successful midnight launch ever, trailing only the two Twilight titles.

The seventh film based on the J.K. Rowling-penned book series beat the midnight release of last year's title, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," by 8.1%, film-tracking site BoxOfficeMojo.com reported Friday. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse grossed more than $30 million with its midnight debut, while "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" grossed $26.3 million, according to the site.

Still, the latest Potter title, part of which was leaked onto the Internet earlier in the week, is likely to make the series the most successful in U.S. box office sales of all time. The first six Harry Potter titles grossed a combined $1.7 billion in U.S. box-office sales and trail only the Star Wars series' $1.9 billion, BoxOfficeMojo.com reported.

Additionally, the film will likely help Time Warner's earnings for the current quarter (Time Warner spun off AOL, DailyFinance's parent, in December). Time Warner said earlier this month that its film earnings dropped 31% and revenues were flat at $2.8 billion, as titles such as "Inception" failed to keep up with year earlier results, which included Half-Blood Prince.
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