Harry Potter is bigger than James Bond

September 18, 2007

It has recently been reported in various news sources that Harry Potter has now surpassed James Bond as the most profitable film franchise of all time, with the Star Wars series taking a back seat in third place.

According to the Daily Telegraph:

The five movies about the adventures of a boy wizard have earned £2.2 billion around the world, surpassing the £2.18 billion made by the 007 franchise.

The six-film Star Wars series sits third on the list of most-lucrative movie franchises, with £2.08 billion in worldwide box office sales.

And for you Americans out there, that’s pounds, remember, not US dollars – so if you’re wondering what that would be in dollars, you essentially have to double those figures (something fun to think about for that next trip to England). (conversion calculator)

Of course, keep in mind that not all the Harry Potter movies have been released yet, giving the series more than enough room to grow. And what’s more, only five Harry Potter movies have been released so far, and six Star Wars installments, while there are over 20 (official) James Bond films.

Which means that, if you look at the average gross of each film in the three franchises, the figures are a little different. On average then, each Harry Potter film has made £440 million, the James Bond films about £104 million and the Star Wars movies about £347 million a piece. Note, however, that those Bond figures are not adjusted for inflation.

On the other hand, as a friend of mine pointed out, the James Bond franchise will most likely keep going and going (and going), while how many more Harry Potter (apart from the last two) and Star Wars films will there be?

In a slightly humorous take on the whole Bond vs. Bourne idea, check out The Daily Telegraph’s Potter vs. Bond piece (Lord Voldemort versus Blofeld? Difficult, very difficult…).

Formula for box office success

August 16, 2007

According to the LA Times, the psychology department at the University of California Davis has discovered the secret of critical and box office movie success. Here are some of the surprising highlights:


  • Spend lots of money, especially on advertising
  • Don’t go above a PG-13 rating
  • Open on many screens, in the summer


  • Go for an R-rating
  • Base the film on an award-winning book or play, preferably one that is itself based on a true story
  • Employ the original writer/director and an excellent musical composer
  • Keep in mind that critically acclaimed movies often do not make a lot at the box office

The article says that the guy developing these findings “has applied the most powerful tools of statistical science to thousands of feature-length English-language films and will unveil his detailed findings this Friday at the American Psychological Assn.’s annual confab in San Francisco.”

Good thing the film studios have universities helping them out, otherwise they’d clearly be wandering in the dark. University tuition dollars well spent.