‘Harry Potter’ by the Numbers: Audience Grew Older, Series Got Richer

Final box office numbers show “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” ended up with a record $481.5M over the weekend

Last Updated: July 18, 2011 @ 6:07 PM

The Harry Potter franchise aged considerably over its 10-year, eight-film lifespan.

The audience for the two "Deathly Hallows" films — the last one opening over the weekend — were 56 and 55 percent over the age of 25, respectively.

That's quite a bit older than when the franchise debuted in 2002. At that time, 60 percent of the audience for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was under the age of 15, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

"Those 10-year-olds going to the first movie, holding the hands of their parents, ended up driving to the last midnight shows," noted Warner distribution chief Dan Fellman. "Along the way, we increased our fanbase." 

Indeed, defying the usual physics of aging, the series grew stronger both creatively and at the box office.

Also read: 'Harry Potter's' Done … What Will They Do Now?

If source-book author J.K. Rowling sticks to her pledge to produce no more Potter novels, the Warner's film series ended on a high note this weekend, generating the biggest domestic, foreign and global opening of any film ever. 

According to final Monday numbers, finale "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" grossed $481.5 million globally this weekend, an all-time record.

Also, according to official numbers, the film now owns both the domestic premiere record ($169.3 million) and the foreign mark ($312.3 million).

The series owns four of the top 10 best global openings.

In fact, from biggest non-summer opening (set by "Deathly Hallows, Part 1" back in November with $125 million) to best IMAX start ("Deathly Hallows, Part 2" did $15.5 million at 274 big-screen locations, the Potter franchise now owns most of the key movie-premiere benchmarks.

The series seemed to get better over time, not only commercially, but creatively, as well.

In terms of narrative quality, "Deathly Hallows, Part 2's" 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes was a series best, easily outstripping the 80 percent garnered by first installment "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" back in November 2001.

Of course, it's the box office numbers that remain the most staggering, with the series — bolstered by the weekend gross — approaching $6.9 billion over its 10-year theatrical lifespan.

This figure isn't accounting for the massive book sales, as well as the robust DVD and film aftermarket.

With revenue like this, and the series no where near close to jumping the shark, how can Rowling stop at eight seven books?

Certainly, there's immense pressure for her to write more.

"That's up to her — whatever she decides to do is her call," Fellman said Sunday. "Personally, I would love to see it."