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ImageLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The latest film in the Harry Potter series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1," has become the highest grossing installment of the Harry Potter franchise outside North America as of Wednesday.

The seventh movie about the exploits of the British boy wizard has earned $657.24 million and counting, edging past the previous record-holder -- 2001's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone," which grossed $657 million at the foreign box office, distributor Warner Bros said.

Globally, including North American ticket sales, it still trails, however, having grossed around $951 million compared with $975 million for the 2001 picture, according to ticket tracking site

Also, figures have not been adjusted for inflation.

Deathly Hallows Part 1, based on the final installment of the series of best-selling books by author J.K. Rowling, performed strongly from the start last November, landing at No. 6 on the list of all-time best U.S. weekend debuts.

The six previous "Potter" films have grossed $5.4 billion globally for Warner Bros. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2," the final installment, is set to hit theatres on July 15.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Nick Macfie)