End nears for blockbuster Harry Potter film series

Mon Nov 8, 2010 10:11am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The end is nigh for the blockbuster Harry Potter film franchise, with the premiere of the seventh and penultimate movie on Thursday and its young stars looking to life beyond the fictitious world of wizardry.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is the first of two big budget pictures to be based on the last of J.K. Rowling's hugely popular books about the boy wizard and his battle against evil set at Hogwarts school.

The film series has been a major money spinner for Hollywood studio Warner Bros and its parent company Time Warner Inc, with the first six films amassing $5.4 billion in ticket sales around the world.

Despite the risk of "Potter fatigue" and the fact that Part 1 of Deathly Hallows will not appear in 3-D as originally planned, the early signs are that Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 will maintain the impressive box office run.

"Towering over all of these (November) movies ... is the beginning of the end of the Harry Potter series, which will undoubtedly generate massive sales," said Ray Subers of cinema tracking website www.boxofficemojo.com.

"With over 57 percent of polled Box Office Mojo readers voting it as their top choice to see in November, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 rides a tidal wave of anticipation," Subers added in a preview to November releases.

Fandango, the U.S. ticketing service, said earlier this month that 61 percent of its daily ticket sales were for the Harry Potter movie, even though it does not hit theatres in the United States and Britain until November 19.

Part 2 is due for release in July, 2011, and is expected to come out in 2-D and 3-D.   Continued...

<p>A Mexican dressed as Voldemort, a character in the Harry Potter books and movies, gathers with other fans in front of Bellas Artes Palace to promote the launch of the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" movie on November 18 in Mexico City, October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte</p>