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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix breaks records in US, Australia

Despite less than magical reviews, the new Harry Potter film has broken all opening night records in both US and Australia.
Agencies | By HT Correspondent, Los Angeles/ San Fransisco/sydney
UPDATED ON JUL 13, 2007 01:10 PM IST

Despite less than magical reviews, the new Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has broken opening night records in both the US and Australia, it was reported on Thursday.

The film, the fifth in the series, opened in midnight screenings in 2,311 cinemas across North America to earn $12 million - easily beating the $8-million record for midnight showings set by The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in 2003. It almost doubled the takings of its own Harry Potter predecessor, The Goblet of Fire.

Order of the Phoenix, based on the best-selling novel by British author JK Rowling, also proved an international sensation with an estimated $29.2 million in ticket sales for a worldwide, one-day haul of $74 million. The numbers include midnight screenings in the United States and Canada that brought in $12 million. The previous record for a Wednesday in the United States was 2004's Spider-Man 2 with $40.4 million, according to box office tracker Media By Numbers.

The success seems certain to continue as Order of the Phoenix expands to 4,285 US screens from Friday, the largest number for any Warner Brothers release to date.

The movie also boasted the highest midnight opening figures in Australia, taking in Australian $4 million (US $3.3 million) on its first day of screenings, its distributor said Thursday.

The previous Potter film, The Goblet of Fire, took Australian $3.2 million on its opening day on Dec 1, 2005.

The new film is the fifth biggest opening day in Australian cinema box office history, behind the three Lord of the Rings films and The Matrix Reloaded.

In France, the new Harry Potter film recorded the third-highest industry opening of all time with $5.9 million. Elsewhere, the film boasted the biggest opening for any of the Potter films in South Korea, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Malaysia, Variety reported.

The latest Harry Potter film is out less than two weeks before the publication of the final book in JK Rowling's seven-part series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and is the fifth in the wildly popular series.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was produced and distributed by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.

The first four Potter movies, starting with 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, have collectively generated $3.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales for Warner Bros.

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