A great opening weekend is the dream of all big-budget movie makers. When a movie has a huge opening weekend, it almost always means that the movie will be a huge success and all the film's major players–the studio, producers, directors, major stars–will make big money. It often means that a sequel will soon be at hand and more money will be made. Here's a look at the five biggest opening weekends in movie history.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
Despite the long and cumbersome name, this Harry Potter flick had the most successful opening weekend in the history of movies. It opened in July, 2011, and it earned more than $169 million that first weekend, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. J.K. Rowling's stories and characters have been magic at the box office throughout their run and this edition produced the biggest fireworks at the start. It's total gross was $381 million.
"The Dark Knight"
This has been the most successful of the films in the "Batman" series. "The Dark Knight" featured Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. This was Ledger's last appearance and the movie was released after his death, and that notoriety no doubt added to the appeal of the movie. "The Dark Knight" earned more than $158 million during the weekend of July 18, 2008, and its total domestic gross was more than $533 million.
The "Spider-Man" series has proved to be very popular, with Tobey Maguire in the starring role and Kirsten Dunst portraying his love interest. In "Spider-Man 3", Peter Parker (Maguire) appears to have repaired many aspects of his life and his relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Dunst) is going well. However, enemies like Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church) are intent on ruining his life. The film opened the weekend of May 4, 2007 and earned more than $151 million during that initial blush.
"The Twilight Saga"
Two of the Twilight Saga films hold down the Nos. 4 and 5 spots on the list of the five biggest opening weekends in cinema history. "New Moon" opened the weekend of Nov. 20, 2009 and earned more than $142 million during that initial showing. That was the fourth-best opening weekend in film history. Twilight's "Breaking Dawn: Part 1" had the No. 5 opening weekend in November, 2011, with an impressive total of $135.6 million in ticket sales. The has grossed more than $281 million overall.