'Harry Potter' rakes in record midnight magic: report

LOS ANGELES: The sixth Harry Potter film raked in a staggering 22.2 million dollars in its midnight premiere Wednesday, making box-office magic with the biggest such gross of all time, Variety reported.

"In a massive start... 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' easily scored the biggest midnight gross of all-time in earning 22.2 million dollars as it debuted in 3,003 runs at 12:01 am Wednesday," Variety reported on its web site.

The figure smashed a record of 18 million set last year by the "The Dark Knight," the latest installment in the "Batman" series and 17 million by the the film "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," from the "Starwars" series.

Late last month, Paramount's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," celebrated a midnight opening that brought in 16 million dollars, and topped its 200 million dollar budget on its first five days out in the United States and Canada alone.

While J. K. Rowling's popular Potter series may be over on the literary front, there is more in store on the big screen.

The seventh Potter book is to be made into two separate films, due for release in 2010 and 2011.