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November 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a forgone conclusion that pent-up anticipation for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 will send ticket sales through the roof this weekend. The only question is, will they set a box-office record? Warner Bros. said on Thursday that all seats for virtually every one of the 3,900 theaters screening the movie at midnight last night had sold out. Early reports say that the film earned $24 million at its midnight screenings, which would put it behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon among midnight openers. (Last year’s Twilight movie earned $26.27 million and went on to rake in $72.70 million on its first day.) By the time the weekend is over, analysts say, Hallows is likely to gross $125 million and could exceed the record $158.4 million set by The Dark Knight in 2008. The biggest opening for a Harry Potter movie thus far came in 2005 with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ($103 million). This year’s take will be boosted by big-screen surcharges at a raft of IMAX venues. Meanwhile, Lionsgate is the only studio brave enough (or foolhardy enough) to open a film opposite the Potter movie. The Russell Crowe thriller The Next Three Days is expected to earn around $10 million.