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Originally published July 14, 2011 at 10:37 AM | Page modified July 14, 2011 at 1:41 PM

'Harry Potter' works new charms with $43M overseas

Harry Potter has conjured up a tidy sum from the first overseas debuts of his final film on its way to a potentially record-shattering opening weekend.

AP Movie Writer

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LOS ANGELES —

Harry Potter has conjured up a tidy sum from the first overseas debuts of his final film on its way to a potentially record-shattering opening weekend.

Distributor Warner Bros. says "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" took in $43.6 million in 26 countries outside the United States on its first day Wednesday.

Studio executives said Thursday the franchise finale had the biggest opening day ever in several countries, including Australia with $7.5 million, Italy with $4.6 million and Sweden with $2.1 million. In France, the studio said "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" had the biggest Wednesday opening ever at $7.1 million.

In the countries where the film opened Wednesday, total revenues were 82 percent higher than they were on the first day for "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" last November, according to Warner Bros.

The finale got a boost from the franchise's first 3-D installment. Admissions for 3-D screenings, which cost a few dollars more than 2-D showings, accounted for 65 percent of revenues, the studio said.

"Deathly Hallows" continues opening worldwide Thursday and Friday.

In the United States, the film is expected to put up franchise-record numbers as it debuts just after midnight Friday. "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" had the franchise's biggest opening weekend domestically with $125 million.

"The franchise record, you can consider that history. That we're going to do. It's not a question," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner Bros., which also holds Hollywood's all-time record for domestic debuts with a $158.4 million weekend on 2008's "The Dark Knight."

"The only question is `Dark Knight,' whether we can put that together. My feeling at this time is that it's very, very do-able."

The 3-D price advantage for the "Harry Potter" finale will help, given that "The Dark Knight" and other top domestic debuts, including "Spider-Man 3" at $151.1 million and "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" at $142.8 million, played only in 2-D.

If fan frenzy is strong enough, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" could become the first of the eight "Harry Potter" films to top $1 billion at the box office worldwide.

The record-holder remains the franchise's first film, 2001's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," with $974.8 million globally.

By splitting the film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's seventh "Harry Potter" adventure into two parts, Warner Bros. essentially is doubling its box-office revenue. The first installment of "Deathly Hallows" pulled in $955.4 million worldwide.

"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" picks up where the first film left off, as young wizards Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) return to Hogwarts school for a final showdown against dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

The finale generally has earned glowing reviews from critics.

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