LOS ANGELES – Harry Potter and his flying broomstick are sweeping away box-office records.
The first big-screen adventure of the boy wizard, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, grossed $31.3 million in its debut Friday, the highest single-day take ever, according to distributor Warner Bros.
The previous record-holder was Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which took in $28.5 million on opening day in 1999.
Harry Potter may even break its own single-day record. Warner Bros. expected the movie to take in more money Saturday than it did on opening day, said Dan Fellman, the studio's head of distribution.
At that level of business, Harry Potter is virtually assured of shattering the record for best three-day debut, set by The Lost World: Jurassic Park with $72.1 million in 1997.
"It's phenomenal. We did well in the early shows, in the late shows. The audiences are every single age category, right across the board," Fellman said. "You can't break these records without establishing a success story in every quadrant."
Fellman would not estimate how much money Harry Potter might take in for the rest of the weekend.
But Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, said Harry Potter should top $90 million in its first three days.
That would rival the $92.7 million The Lost World grossed in its first four days over Memorial Day, one of the year's busiest weekends at movie theaters. That number for The Lost World even includes about $2 million the movie took in from Thursday night sneak previews.
Harry Potter also is likely to hit the $100 million mark faster than any other movie has. The Phantom Menace reached that point in five days. Dergarabedian said Harry Potter should top $100 million in just four days.