Order of 'Harry Potter' Movies: Most Popular?

by Zac Gille

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneThe Harry Potter box office chart on the next page was culled from figures found at Box Office Mojo. I've also used BOM's inflation-ratio chart to calculate domestic 2011 grosses for the previous six Harry Potter movies. The United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics was used to update US dollar figures of international grosses. [Right: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson in Chris Columbus' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.]

The most notable things about the inflation-adjusted Harry Potter box office chart are:

  • In North America, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is no. 3 in number of tickets sold on opening weekend, behind Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It could be even further behind if IMAX surcharges are factored in.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone remains the most popular movie – in number of tickets sold – in the Harry Potter franchise.
  • The Harry Potter movies that opened during the summer season in North America were the weakest performers.
  • The Harry Potter movies are, relatively speaking, much more popular overseas than in North America; international receipts represent about two-thirds of the films' worldwide box office gross.
  • Adjusted for inflation, four Harry Potter movies have passed the US$1 billion milestone worldwide: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • In North America, the number of tickets sold for each Harry Potter movie has – with a couple of exceptions – gone steadily down in the last ten years; overseas, after sliding down following Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, figures have remained relatively constant.

Note: Inflation-adjusted figures are approximations so one can have an idea about the number of tickets each Harry Potter movie sold. That's the true parameter of a movie's box office success.

Regarding the international box office, it's also worth noting that a decade ago neither China nor Russia were the box office behemoths they have become since. And of course, inflationary pressures vary from country to country.

And finally, bear in mind that currency fluctuations can have a major impact on international figures once they are converted to US dollars. Apart from a bump during the height of the global economic crisis of late 2008-early 2009, the dollar was considerably stronger ten years ago than it is now; in other words, foreign revenues for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone would be impacted negatively when converted to US dollars when compared to those for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Directed by David Yates, and adapted by Steve Kloves from J.K. Rowling's novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 features the aforementioned Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, in addition to Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Emma Thompson, Gary Oldman, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Kelly Macdonald, Ciaran Hinds, David Thewlis, Timothy Spall, Miranda Richardson, Julie Walters, Alan Rickman, Jim Broadbent, Warwick Davis, and Miriam Margolyes.

Photo: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Warner Bros.)

Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Daniel Radcliffe in David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has been breaking box office records in a number of countries. Will it become the most popular Harry Potter movie ever? It's certainly a possibility, though – 3D surcharges aside – it'll have to sell more tickets than the most successful Harry Potter to date – the very first installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, released in November 2001. Adjusted for inflation, Sorcerer's Stone remains by far the most popular movie in the Harry Potter franchise in terms of attendance, both in North America and internationally.

Steve Kloves has been the “official” adapter of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. The Harry Potter directors have been Chris Columbus (the first two movies), Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), and David Yates (the last four movies).

In addition to leads Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, the Harry Potter movies have featured an array of (mostly) British stars, old and new. Among them: Ralph Fiennes, Julie Christie, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Emma Thompson, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Maggie Smith, Robert Pattinson, Imelda Staunton, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Shirley Henderson, and Kelly Macdonald.

Also: Ciaran Hinds, Zoë Wanamaker, David Thewlis, Timothy Spall, John Hurt, Fiona Shaw, Ian Hart, Miranda Richardson, Julie Walters, Dawn French, Bonnie Wright, Jessie Cave, Geraldine Somerville, Helen McCrory, Gary Oldman, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Gleeson, Warwick Davis, Richard Harris, John Cleese, Oliver Phelps, and Miriam Margolyes.

Below is the domestic, international, and worldwide box office chart of the Harry Potter movies. Box Office Mojo's “ticket-price inflation chart” was used to adjust domestic box office figures. The US Labor of Statistics' inflation chart was used to adjust international figures.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (November 19, 2010)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $125,017,372 (approx. $124.5 million in 2011)
#1 rank; 4,125 theaters; $30,307 average; percent of Total Gross: 42%
Domestic Total: $295,001,070 (approx. $294 million in 2011)
International Total: $660,000,000 (est.) (approx. $684 million in 2011)
Worldwide Total: $955,001,070 (approx. $978 million in 2011)

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15, 2009)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $77,835,727 (approx. $81.5 million in 2011)
#1 rank; 4,325 theaters; $17,997 average; percent of Total Gross: 26%
Domestic Total: $301,959,197 (approx. $316.5 million in 2011)
International Total: $632,000,000 (est.) (approx. $665 million in 2011)
Worldwide Total: $933,959,197 (approx. $981.5 million in 2011)

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 11, 2007)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $77,108,414 (approx. $86 million in 2011)
#1 rank; 4,285 theaters; $17,994 average; percent of Total Gross: 26%
Domestic Total: $292,004,738 (approx. $325 million in 2011)
International Total: $646,208,000 (est.) (approx. $704 million in 2011)
Worldwide Total: $938,212,738 (approx. $1.029b in 2011)

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (November 18, 2005)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $102,685,961 (approx. $126 million in 2011)
#1 rank; 3,858 theaters; $26,616 average; percent of Total Gross: 35%
Domestic Total: $290,013,036 (approx. $355.5 million in 2011)
International Total: $605,908,000 (est.) (approx. $701 million in 2011)
Worldwide Total: $895,921,036 (approx. $1.056.5b in 2011)

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (June 4, 2004)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $93,687,367 (approx. $118.5 million in 2011)
#1 rank; 3,855 theaters; $24,302 average; percent of Total Gross: 37%
Domestic Total: $249,541,069 (approx. $315.5 million in 2011)
International Total: $546,093,000 (est.) (approx. $653 million in 2011)
Worldwide Total: $795,634,069 (approx. $968.5 million in 2011)

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Nov. 15, 2002)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $88,357,488 (approx. $119.5 million in 2011)
#1 rank; 3,682 theaters; $23,997 average; percent of Total Gross: 34%
Domestic Total: $261,988,482 (approx. $354 million in 2011)
International Total: $616,655,000 (est.) (approx. $774.5 million in 2011)
Worldwide Total: $878,643,482 (approx. $1.1285b in 2011)

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (November 16, 2001)
Domestic Opening Weekend: $90,294,621 (approx. $125 million in 2011)
#1 rank; 3,672 theaters; $24,590 average; percent of Total Gross: 28%
Domestic Total: $317,575,550 (approx. $441 million in 2011)
International Total: $657,158,000 (est.) (approx. $838.5 million in 2011)
Worldwide Total: $974,733,550 (approx. $1.2795b in 2011)

Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros.)

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