Harry Potter, Inc: How the Boy Wizard Created a $21 Billion Business

More

Even before the first ticket was sold to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part II, the boy wizard had become the king of a $21 billion Warner Bros empire and the most successful franchise in movie history.

The billions don't come from where you'd think. American movie audiences are taught to judge films by their opening weekends. But the seven Harry Potter openings -- totaling just shy of $700 million -- account for only three percent of Warner Bros' total haul. Total U.S. box office barely scratches 9 percent of Harry's $21 billion industry.



Merchandise is the big surprise here, generating a third of total revenue. Equally surprising is that TV, video games and rentals equaled total worldwide box office. To dig deeper, here's the complete breakdown of the Potter Empire by category:


Pottermania extends miles beyond the cineplex. The soundtrack sold 1.3 million copies, alone. The 2010 Quidditch World Cup in New York hosted 20,000 spectators with 46 teams. "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," a theme park at Universal Orlando Resort (featuring a recreation of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade) has made $364 million since it opened in 2010.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Madeleine Kruhly writes and produces for The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Ghost Trains of America

Can a band of locomotive experts save vintage railcars from ruin?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In