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02 Aug 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has passed the $1bn (£609m) mark at the worldwide box office, distributor Warner Bros has said.

The final instalment in the eight-part boy wizard series is the first to reach the milestone.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone had the previous best global takings with $974.8m (£593m) in 2001.

The 2009 epic Avatar holds the current record for the biggest worldwide box office haul with $2.8bn (£1.7bn).

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is expected to pass Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides soon, which is this year's top grossing movie so far at $1.03bn (£626m).

The Harry Potter film took $21.9m (£13.3m) at the North American box office over the weekend, climbing to a domestic total of $318.5m (£194m).

It has now topped the franchise's previous best in the US and Canada of $317.6m (£193.6m) for Philosopher's Stone.

But taking into account today's higher admission prices, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has not yet caught up to Philosopher's Stone in terms of actual tickets sold.

Meanwhile, The Smurfs and sci-fi western Cowboys and Aliens tied for the number one spot at the North American box office, both taking $36.2m (£22.1m) according to early estimates.

Definitive figures will be released later on Monday.

"In all my years, I've never really seen a race this close," said Paul Dergarabedian of box office analysts

"Generally, in the world of movie box office, $1 million is a close call, so to have two films in a dollar-to-dollar tie is somewhat unprecedented."

Cowboys and Aliens stars Daniel Craig as an amnesiac wanderer who teams with cattle baron Harrison Ford to take on hulking aliens that invade a town in the Old West.

The Smurfs sees the blue 1980s cartoon creatures brought to the big screen with a voice and live-action cast that includes Katy Perry and Neil Patrick Harris.


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