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baumer

Harry Potter dominated the box office for a decade, there will never be another series like it.

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Harry Potter is not my favourite series of films.  In fact, out of the 8 films, there were maybe 2 I really enjoyed, 2 I really hated and the rest were just kind of ok, not terrible not great, in my opinion of course.  In most other's minds, Potters were like religious experiences.  But opinions aside, the box office speaks for itself.

 

Staring in 2001 Potter took the world by storm and destroyed the opening weekend record by almost 20 million.  And the most interesting thing about this is that this was based off a book.  When Batman was killing the box office a decade before, it had 50 years of comic book nerds just waiting to run to the box office to see a big screen version of it.  Potter was published 4 years earlier and built up a fanbase in such a short time.  When Philosopher's Stone opened to 90 million, it eclipsed even some of the biggest predictions.  Guru had it opening to 83 million, which already would have been a record, but 90 million was unheard of 13 years ago.

 

As the years went on, more books were published and the Potter fanbase stayed loyal.  Noctis asked the other day, and this is not verbatim, but he asked, "if you say that all or most 4th films fall from their third, then how do you explain Potter?"

 

It's a good question.  The 4th Potter, Goblet of Fire jumped 50 million domestically and 100 million WW.  My reason for this is simply because the third one dropped because the second was a bit of a let down.  But the fourth benefits from how well liked the third is.  The other thing is that when most recent fourth films drop, like Transformers and Jack Sparrow, they have changed part of their dynamic.  Different characters, different story, different dynamic.  Not Potter.  J.K. Rowling somehow kept the story going for all 7 books.  By the time the fourth one hit the theater, audiences were in love with Potter.  And they really didn't slow down.

 

The last 4 Potters hit 900 mill+ WW and of course the 8th and final film blew the doors off the midnight record book with 40 million in midnights.  This, imo, is a record that will never be touched.  The new Star Wars has the best chance at it, but I don't think it will come close.  Also, these films came out before the explosion of 3D and before the expanding Asian markets (Potter 8 did 60 million in China and doesn't even have a gross listed for PS in China). If the films had come out maybe even 5 years later, we might be looking at an Avengers type gross for the last one.

 

The biggest reason why imo, Potter will never be duplicated in terms of longevity is because the books remained popular as they came out very close together.  Fans were lined up at midnight to buy a freakin book.  Think about that.  A book caused a feverish panic.  That will probably never happen again.  

 

Now there will be the inevitable comparisons between Potter and other popular franchises.  LOTR, SW and Bond all have high grosses and great longevity.  But here's the thing about Bilbo and Vader.  They took time off in between their first three films and their last three.  Potter didn't.  Potter, for 10 straight years, just kept churning out 900 million dollar films, or close to it, year after year.  Franchises don't do that.  Spiderman drops, Marvel has had to build over the years and didn;t come in hot the way Potter did.  Pirates dropped off domestically and so did the Hobbit.

 

As for Bond, before Skyfall came out and hit a billion, the other films were good sized hits in North America, but not monster ones.  In fact, no Bond film had hit 600 mill WW before Skyfall, so the juxtaposition to Potter is moot.

 

Here are some Potter numbers, truly impressive.

 

Average gross domestically: 298 million

Average gross adjusted:  352 million

Average gross adjusted for 3D (taking out DH2):  376 million

Average gross WW:  965 million

 

Potter is a true anomaly and I'm not sure we'll see something like it again.  This is a series that sustained levels of popularity and box office that we have not seen before in consecutive movies over a 10 year period.  

 

Love it or hate it (I'm closer to hating it than loving it) but from a box office perspective, there is none greater.  I love SW and in a decade from now, if the next three films are just as big as the last three, then we can put it into the conversation, in fact, you could make an entire thread about SW and it's contribution to the box office.  But right now, in 2014, Potter, for longevity to box office ratio, it stands alone.

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I could take or leave most (hell, all) the films, but its consistency was impressive. There was also a novelty to seeing the cast grow up year after year, which I think gave it a real edge because fans stuck with these actors throughout the run and always came back. For all of the Boyhood aging actor talk, one could argue Potter already did it.

Edited by Hatebox
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And btw... fuck you Noctis for making me think about this writing this essay because of your comment the other day.   :P

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I could take or leave most (hell, all) the films, but its consistency was impressive. There was also a novelty to seeing the cast grow up year after year, which I think gave it a real edge because fans stuck with these actors throughout the run and always came back. For all of the Boyhood aging actor talk, one could argue Potter already did it.

This. Very well said.

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Books were uber popular and had success that is still not beaten. Plus it started its journey when we did not have that many fantasy movies. 1st potter movie broke OW record comfortably in November. Plus its OS number were huge.

 

but the numbers of the sequels got boring and predictable. last one needed 3d and finale effect to reverse the slide. Still a great run for sure. I guess LOTR/Hobbit will combine together to huge numbers as well. 

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It was shit, mate.

 

Sure but box office wise, it wasn't unexpected.  In fact, I based on TTT prediction of 264 million on COS.  

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Books were uber popular and had success that is still not beaten. Plus it started its journey when we did not have that many fantasy movies. 1st potter movie broke OW record comfortably in November. Plus its OS number were huge.

 

but the numbers of the sequels got boring and predictable. last one needed 3d and finale effect to reverse the slide. Still a great run for sure. I guess LOTR/Hobbit will combine together to huge numbers as well. 

 

I'm not arguing that Hobbit is any less impressive, only that Potter didn't need a break in order to keep its grosses going.  To sustain that kind of interest every two or three years is quite unprecedented.  Marvel is doing it now, but again, not all of their films were massive successes.

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The only potential rival to it, is another book series that has a good narrative that lasts as long.

 

Game of Thrones could have been, maybe, if they planned 7 movies for 7 books after knowing the entire narrative. In its current anticipatory format, I don't think they could properly tell any story for a movie.

 

The reason why comic book movies can never hope to sustain themselves is because their stories never end and they keep being reinvented, in a way, the investment in them is not as strong despite the years and years of comics. Also there are more mainstream people watching movies like Spiderman, Pirates and Transformers. The mainstream eventually get tired of watching the same thing, hence the drop-offs.

 

Potter had a huge fanbase that turned up again, and again, and again. One reason why, is that for a book series, it is also very unique in that the character grows up each year and the whole world saving is a backdrop set to school years. Every kid can relate to having big dreams despite being in school. So, it captured a generation of children, myself included, that saw Potter's growth into maturity and past puberty, as completely relatable. It's after all, still based in our modern world not any dystopian timeline.

 

Ah, brings back memories just typing all that. Thanks baumer! What a great set of days and times. Will love it til I die. So glad that Rowling wrote it when she did and thus intertwining with my childhood and teenage years. :wub:

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Also, Twilight, for all the hate it gets, sustained its popularity as well.  It was never as big a hit WW, but it did very well domestically...but to see the kind of success Potter had internationally, is quite stunning.

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The only potential rival to it, is another book series that has a good narrative that lasts as long.

 

Game of Thrones could have been, maybe, if they planned 7 movies for 7 books after knowing the entire narrative. In its current anticipatory format, I don't think they could properly tell any story for a movie.

 

The reason why comic book movies can never hope to sustain themselves is because their stories never end and they keep being reinvented, in a way, the investment in them is not as strong despite the years and years of comics. Also there are more mainstream people watching movies like Spiderman, Pirates and Transformers. The mainstream eventually get tired of watching the same thing, hence the drop-offs.

 

Potter had a huge fanbase that turned up again, and again, and again. One reason why, is that for a book series, it is also very unique in that the character grows up each year and the whole world saving is a backdrop set to school years. Every kid can relate to having big dreams despite being in school. So, it captured a generation of children, myself included, that saw Potter's growth into maturity and past puberty, as completely relatable. It's after all, still based in our modern world not any dystopian timeline.

 

Ah, brings back memories just typing all that. Thanks baumer! What a great set of days and times. Will love it til I die. So glad that Rowling wrote it when she did and thus intertwining with my childhood and teenage years. :wub:

 

Wow, very well said.  I could never see something like that because I was never a fan of the series, either in written or visual form.

 

Nicely done bk007.

Edited by baumer
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I'm not arguing that Hobbit is any less impressive, only that Potter didn't need a break in order to keep its grosses going.  To sustain that kind of interest every two or three years is quite unprecedented.  Marvel is doing it now, but again, not all of their films were massive successes.

One might argue that the break in-between LOTR and TH, with a lot of fantasy movies coming in those interim years did nothing to help - quite the contrary.

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Yeah no matter how I feel about the movies, the consistency of the movies' grosses were incredible.  For the main fanbase to stick around for the entire run is pretty amazing.

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I think many other movie series would become bigger. Book wise it would be hard to match.

 

Sure, there can be bigger series due to inflation, 3D and expanding markets.  But not over 7 or 8 films.  That's my point.

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