Harry Potter director celebrates box office smash

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St Helens movie director David Yates's latest spellbinding Harry Potter blockbuster smashed a UK Box Office record after its eagerly-awaited release last month.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - the sixth instalment of the ultra-popular movie series - took more than 19m at UK cinemas in its first five days after it was released on July 15.

In the US, the film also shattered a box office record by breaking the record for a midnight opening with $22.2 million, eclipsing the mark set last year by Batman Begins follow-up The Dark Knight.

The movie then flew past the worldwide opening day box office record with the domestic gross of $58m and the international totals of $45m combining for a one-day global box office gross of more than $104m.

David Yates, 46, an Emmy award-winning film-maker, started out by making creaky short films in Rainhill and Taylor Park.

He was inspired to follow a career in film after watching the Steven Spielberg classic Jaws as a teenager, went on to study politics, English literature and sociology at St Helens College before excelling at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield.

He has previously been described by Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe as "a brilliant director".

And David, who gained critical acclaim for television productions of State of Play and The Girl in the Cafe, has now got the plum job of directing the final Harry Potter instalment – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – a two-part film expected in 2010-11.