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Movie Magic: The Multi-Billion-Dollar Box Office Success of Harry Potter

The Boy Who Lived has dominated the box office for nearly a decade. Tonight the franchise's final film opens nationwide.
The Boy Who Lived has dominated the box office for nearly a decade. Tonight the franchise's final film opens nationwide.
Photo from http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/

Whether you're a magician, a Muggle, or more of a Lord of the Rings fan, you can't deny the indelible cultural impact Harry Potter has had on the literary and movie industries in the last decade.

Eight blockbuster movies, seven bestselling books, one theme park, and hundreds of millions of dollars in J.K. Rowling's bank account later, the beginning of the end starts tonight with the release of the final piece in the Harry Potter saga, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

In honor of the final film, I wanted to look back to the beginning and do a quick retroactive piece on the success and impact of each of the past seven movies.

Here is the history of the films of The Boy Who Lived and Made Billions of Dollars:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

  • Released: November 16, 2001
  • Duration: 152 min
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Chris Columbus
  • Production Budget: $125,000,000
  • U.S. Theatrical Gross: $317,575,550
  • Worldwide Theatrical Gross (including U.S.): $974,775,550
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
  • Metacritic Score: 64/100
  • IMDB Score: 7.2/10
  • Academy Award Nominations: Art Direction; Costume Design; Original Score

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Released: Novemeber 15, 2002
  • Duration: 161 min
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Chris Columbus
  • Production Budget: $100,000,000
  • U.S. Theatrical Gross: $261,988,482
  • Worldwide Theatrical Gross (including U.S.): $878,643,482
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
  • Metacritic Score: 63/100
  • IMDB Score: 7.1/10
  • Academy Award Nominations: n/a

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Released: June 4, 2004
  • Duration: 141 min
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Production Budget: $130,000,000
  • U.S. Theatrical Gross: $249,541,069
  • Worldwide Theatrical Gross (including U.S.): $795,634,069
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
  • Metacritic Score: 82/100
  • IMDB Score: 7.7/10
  • Academy Award Nominations: Original Score; Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • Released: November 18, 2005
  • Duration: 157 min
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Director: Mike Newell
  • Production Budget: $150,000,000
  • U.S. Theatrical Gross: $290,013,036
  • Worldwide Theatrical Gross (including U.S.): $895,921,036
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
  • Metacritic Score: 81/100
  • IMDB Score: 7.5/10
  • Academy Award Nominations: Art Direction

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Released: July 11, 2007
  • Duration: 138 min
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Director: David Yates
  • Production Budget: $150,000,000
  • U.S. Theatrical Gross: $292,004,738
  • Worldwide Theatrical Gross (including U.S.): $938,212,738
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
  • Metacritic Score: 71/100
  • IMDB Score: 7.3/10
  • Academy Award Nominations: n/a

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Released: July 15, 2009
  • Duration: 153 min
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: David Yates
  • Production Budget: $250,000,000
  • U.S. Theatrical Gross: $301,959,197
  • Worldwide Theatrical Gross (including U.S.): $933,959,197
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
  • Metacritic Score: 78/100
  • IMDB Score: 7.3/10
  • Academy Award Nominations: Cinematography

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

  • Released: November 19, 2010
  • Duration: 146 min
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Director: David Yates
  • Production Budget: $125,000,000
  • U.S. Theatrical Gross: $295,001,070
  • Worldwide Theatrical Gross (including U.S.): $955,001,070
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
  • Metacritic Score: 65/100
  • IMDB Score: 7.7/10
  • Academy Award Nominations: Art Direction, Visual Effects

Each movie made (nearly) $1 billion worldwide, and that's not counting DVD sales. Harry Potter really is a worldwide phenomenon, a series so popular it rivals Star Wars in terms of discussing the most financially successful film franchises of all time (another article for another time).

For you box office nerds, here are a few additonal tidbits about the franchise's success:

Harry Potter's Soaring Box Office Success

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the ninth highest grossing film of all time worldwide.
  • The franchise - to date - contains seven of the top 30 grossing films of all time worldwide (and five of the top 20).
  • The total combined worldwide gross of the franchise to date is $6,372,147,142, or one dollar per resident of earth.

The final film opens tonight at midnight with sold-out screenings across the country. It already has a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and seems primed to end the series on a resounding high note.

One final bit of Harry Potter trivia: The total running time of all the films (including Deathly Hallows: Part 2) is 1,178 minutes, or nearly 20 hours worth of movie-watching magic. Have fun, Muggles.

Data gathered from:

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