'Half-Blood Prince' tearing up the box office

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 16, 2009

“Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince” conjured up $22.2 million in midnight ticket sales at 3,003 locations, according to Warner Bros., putting the popular boy-wizard movie on track for a record-breaking debut Wednesday and through the weekend.
The sixth “Potter” film, which cost more than $400 million to make, market and release worldwide, shattered the $18.5-million-record midnight earnings of last year’s Batman blockbuster “The Dark Knight,” also produced and distributed by Warner Bros.
“Half-Blood Prince” could very well beat the all-time domestic record for Wednesday ticket sales of $62 million generated last month by Paramount Pictures’ “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and could eclipse its five-day Wednesday-through-Sunday record of $200.1 million.
It’s also possible that the latest “Potter” could topple the $203.7-million all-time five-day record set by “Dark Knight,” which opened on a Friday.
“Half-Blood Prince,” unlike the last two “Potter” films, is rated PG rather than PG-13, meaning it could play to an even broader audience. The first three movies also were rated PG.
The movie is expected to gross more domestically than its predecessor, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which two years ago sold $292 million in tickets. The film grossed more than twice that amount overseas with $646.2 million.
“Half-Blood Prince” will debut this week in all major international territories.