"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1," earned an estimated $125.1 million domestically on its first weekend, putting the new film at the top of the heap in the franchise for opening weekend revenue, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Playing on a whopping 4,125 screens across the country, "Deathly Hollows" topped the previous franchise leader, 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which took in $102.7 million in its first weekend, to become the sixth-biggest opening weekend of all time.
The film does fall slightly short of the record for highest opening weekend for 2010, a crown which goes to this summer's "Iron Man 2." The blockbuster sequel took in a staggering $128.1 million its first weekend back in May.
"Deathly Hallows" may shock rabid Hogwarts fans, because sex has become part of the equation in the Harry Potter plot.
The focal point of all that angst is Harry's longtime sidekick, Ron Weasley.
Ron Weasley? Don't be so surprised.
"There are a lot of teenyboppers who think Rupert Grint, who plays Ron, is terribly sexy," said Gregory Bassham, a professor of philosophy at King's College, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and editor of "The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles" (Wiley, 2010).
"The vision witnessed by Ron leads him to visualize his worst fears," Bassham said.
What Ron sees is Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) embracing, looking as though they're beyond the affectionate snogging stage. The two characters' skins radiate a slick, silvery glow, akin to the bronzed look on a model on the cover of a fashion magazine.
In the segment, both Harry and Hermione's burnished physicality exudes an otherworldly and even slightly diabolical togetherness. As if that's not enough, Ron hears Hermione's apparition whispering to him, preying on his fears.
"In all probability, the image feeds Ron's insecurity, despair and jealousy," Bassham said.
Jealousy is an emotion Ron knows well.
"For years, Ron has been chronically jealous of Harry. who's famous, rich and glamorous, with all the girls crazy about him," Bassham said. "We've seen, over several books, that Ron lacks confidence. And he's always suspected that Harry has this thing for Hermione."
"There's also the issue of inferiority," said Anne Collins Smith, a professor of philosophy and classical studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. "Ron is the middle child, overshadowed by his older brothers, and by Harry, who's The Boy Who Lived."
Smith, whose essays in "The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy" explore feminism and the power of love, also said Ron may feel that Hermione sees Harry as more attractive.
"It's only in the sixth book of the series, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,' that Ron realizes that he loves Hermione," she said. "And if Hermione goes off with Harry, then Ron will lose Harry, too. The vision is a vivid expression of Ron's nightmare that he might lose both of them."
The setting that frames Ron's vision doesn't help his psychological state.