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    Will Harry Potter Fail to Live Up to Record Hype?

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    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    UPDATE: The final Harry Potter has become the first Harry Potter to gross $1 billion worldwide, Warner Bros. announced Sunday. So, like we say below, it's good to be the boy who lived.

    __________

    Two short weeks ago, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was the biggest box-office thing ever in Hollywood.

    Now, it's getting beat by Captain America.

    Is the wizard out of magic—and so soon?

    RELATED: Will this be Emma Watson's first post-Potter movie?

    Hardly.

    Deathly Hallows: Part 2 just became the first movie to break $900 million after only 15 days in theaters worldwide, Box Office Mojo reported. (The film opened in some foreign countries on July 13.) It's already the Earth's 19th-biggest-ever grosser.

    But, domestically, Harry Potter's wand has indeed lost its zip—and lost it fast. 

    On these shores, HP8 was at about $298 million through Wednesday. At the same point in its runs, The Dark Knight, which Deathly Hallows: Part 2 blew past to take the opening-weekend record, was at $342.7 million.

    How did Harry Potter blow such a big lead?

    "Even a huge franchise like this has a ceiling, and the base hasn't expanded that much," BoxOffice.com Phil Contrino said via email.

    In other words, Potter fans here rushed to see the franchise's final film the first second (read: weekend) they got, and then after that… Well, let's just say, Twilight fans could tell Potter fans that ginormous debuts don't mean Avatar-toppling runs.

    Speaking of the all-time box-office champ…

    "[Deathly Hallows: Part 2] doesn't have a shot at Avatar's record," Contrino said.

    And no one ever thought it did because Avatar is Avatar: one of those flukes and/or James Cameron movies. (For what it's worth, HP8 is currently running ahead of Avatar's pace.)

    Of course, with Deathly Hallows: Part 2 long expected to gross $1 billion worldwide, it's good to be Harry Potter, too.

    (Originally published July 30, 2011, at 11 a.m. PT)

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