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'Harry Potter' Fans Rush to Theaters to View Latest Film in Popular Series

Midnight muggle moviegoers rushed cinemas across the United States July 11 for the initial showings of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.

The fifth installment in the phenomenally popular movie series took in an estimated $12 million in 2,311 theaters across North America.

The teenaged wizard also conjured up international first-day returns of $13.7 million from France and eight Pacific and Asian territories, including Australia. The movie's domestic tally surpassed the previous record-holder for Wednesday midnight premieres, New Line Cinema's Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.

It took in $8 million during its 2003 premiere. Directed by David Yates and based on the book by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is playing in 4,285 theaters, the widest North American opening ever for a Warners film.

Speaking of the healthy late-night tally, one studio executive said that "the movie's fans have aged with the books, going from middle school to high school, and now they're driving themselves."