So if you haven't heard, the Harry Potter movies are now the champion of the movie franchises - surpassing the James Bond movies in total gross earnings at a whopping $4.47 billion (£2.2 billion).
The James Bond franchise, with a total gross of $4.44 billion (£2.19 billion), is definitely within striking distance of the Potter movies, at least until the last boy wizard movie premieres. With two more Harry Potter movies set to premiere in 2008 and 2010, James Bond has some competition as the next 007 movies will premiere in the same years. But don't worry Bond fans. There is something 007 has that Harry Potter does not, at least on the big screen: staying power.
JK Rowling can publish Harry Potter books for all time and they will sell quickly, that is for sure. However, the publishing success of Potter does not necessarily equate to extended box office success. Although both characters were adaptations of successful books (in the case of Harry Potter, phenomenally successful), there are several differences between the franchises from a cinematic viewpoint.
After a wildly successful initial release, the Harry Potter book craze seemed only to increase with each publication, as did the movies. This was not so for Agent 007 in paperback. Much like our favorite secret agent's movie career, some books were successful and some were not as well received as others. Therefore, it can be said that Bond's longevity is not only pretty unbelievable but also illogical (if a sequel performs miserably, why make another?) - attesting to the strength of the character.
Potter and Bond audiences are no doubt opposite ends of the spectrum - with the majority of Potter fans being pre-pubescent of both genders and Bond fans being male twenty-somethings. Unlike 007, it is unknown whether Potter fandom will make the transition from generation to generation.
As far as movies go, the Potter franchise is definitely on shaky ground (more on that later). Bond, on the other hand, has survived six actor portrayals, countless villains, allies, girls and movie plots. And his future with Craig in the next two movies only looks brighter.
James Bond as a movie character, after all, is more established than the Harry Potter movie character. Unfortunately for Potter (and Potter movie fans) as well, JK Rowling has written her last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows. And with the creative control that Rowling has over the books, there is no way a Potter movie can be made without her approval after Deathly Hallows is released in 2010. For now, at least.
When you think about it, however, Rowling's situation seems to be very Fleming-esque in that, say, decades from now when Rowling passes on, whoever she leaves the Potter character to may make the decision to create more Potter movies not based on books, similar to the Bond franchise (if she'll allow it - perhaps she already has???). As you may know, this transition from movie-to-movie, actor-to-actor is a difficult one to say the least. Who will play Potter after Radcliffe? What about Dumbledore?
Coming off the success of its first five movies (and most likely the success of six and seven), whose to say that Potter can't be its own 40+ year movie franchise?
But that's a question for another time and another fan site...
With its most successful movie earner ever in Casino Royale last year, the Bond franchise has the potential to make another $4 billion and should be considered 40 years young.
In other words, folks, when all is said and done, expect James Bond to retake the crown in the near future.
By the way, I have never read a Harry Potter book but definitely enjoy the movies. As far as my infatuation with James Bond...you know the rest...
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