The series finale dismissed the previous best North American opening weekend record of $158.4m set by Warner Bros stablemate The Dark Knight three years ago.

Combined with the astonishing $307m international launch record, the global tally for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 already stands at $481.5m.

The string of records includes $43.5m from Thursday midnight screenings and set the film up to become the first in the franchise to cross $1bn at the worldwide box office. A record IMAX haul for an opening weekend produced $23.5m, $15.5m of which came from North America.

Paramount’s Transformers: Dark Of The Moon crossed $300m in its third weekend while Warner Bros’ Horrible Bosses in third place and Sony’s Zookeeper in fourth both held well, dropping less than $39% each in their second weekend.

Buena Vista’s animation Winnie The Pooh arrived somewhat limply in sixth place on $7.9m from 2,405 theatres.

Meanwhile SPC top brass were rejoicing as Midnight In Paris overtook Hannah And Her Sisters to become Woody Allen’s biggest grossing film in North America as it reached $41.8m.

Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, the Fox Searchlight release produced by Wendi Murdoch, the wife of Rupert Murdoch, whose New Corp owns Fox Filmed Entertainment, opened on $134,005 from 24 theatres.

Next weekend Paramount will release Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The First Avenger starring Chris Evans. Sony’s Screen Gems unit opens the comedy Friends With Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.

Confirmed Top 10 North America Jul 15-17, 2011
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Warner Bros) WBPI $169.2m –

2 (1) Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (Paramount) PPI $21.3m $302.9m

3 (2) Horrible Bosses (Warner Bros/New Line) WBPI $17.8m $60.1m

4 (3) Zookeeper (Sony/MGM) SPRI $12.3m $42.4m

5 (4) Cars 2 (Buena Vista/Pixar) WDSMPI $8.4m $165.4m

6 (-) Winnie The Pooh (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $7.9m –

7 (5) Bad Teacher (Sony) SPRI $5.2m $88.5m

8 (6) Larry Crowne (Universal) Summit Int’l $2.7m $31.7m

9 (7) Super 8 (Paramount) PPI $1.92m $122.3m

10 (11) Midnight In Paris (SPC) Imagina $1.88m $41.8m