Potter 6 opens huge with $22.2M midnight take

Forget giant robots, drunken groomsmen and Vulcans: The real hero of the summer will be a boy wizard if the preliminary box-office figures for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are any indication, according to Variety:

The movie easily scored the biggest midnight gross of all time in earning $22.2 million as it unspooled in 3,003 runs at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

That figure beats the $18 million earned in midnight runs by Warners' very own The Dark Knight and the $17 million earned by 20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith.

There's a lot of pent-up demand among Potterphiles, who have had to do without an installment in their beloved franchise for two years. The last chapter, 2007's Order of the Phoenix, grossed $12 million in midnight runs on its way to a $139.7 million five-day debut.

Half-Blood Prince officially opens today.

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