'Harry Potter' breaks records: three trends behind the success

In some respects, it’s not a good idea to draw conclusions from the record-setting performance of “Harry Potter” this weekend, which took $169 million at the North American box office and $476 million globally.

“ ‘Harry Potter’ is a franchise that does not come along often,” says Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst. “It took more than a decade to develop, and it reaches across wide segments of the moviegoing public.”

Still, a few important trends are emerging from the eye-popping weekend. Here are three:

1. Audiences are cooling a bit on 3-D

Parker Michels-Boyce/The News & Advance/AP
Sporting special edition Harry Potter-style 3-D glasses, Danny Conover gets a quick make-up job from fellow moviegoer Scott Southard as they wait in line for the midnight screening of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' in Lynchburg, Va., Thursday.

In comparison with other earlier blockbusters, the final “Harry Potter” film was seen in 3-D by a smaller proportion of North American viewers – below half, roughly 43 percent, says Dergarabedian.

“Europeans are higher on 3-D,” he notes, saying that even with the big “Transformers” blockbuster – which nearly 60 percent of Americans experienced in 3-D – “overseas the number was more like 70 percent.”

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