(Reuters) - Following are some facts about the Harry Potter films and the novels they are based on, as the eighth film - “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” premieres in Britain on Thursday and opens in U.S. theatres on July 15.
* The Harry Potter movies have so far amassed a worldwide box office tally of nearly $6.4 billion.
— The first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone grossed the most of all the movies so far, with $974.7 million, the eighth biggest box-office takings of all time.
* The sixth film in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” opened in theatres in July 2009.
— The sixth movie earned 19.8 million pounds ($32.46 million) at the British box office over its opening five days, setting a new record. It also generated $934 million at the global box office, making it the second-highest grossing film of 2009.
* In the seventh film, Harry’s friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley join the fight against the dark lord who now has control over the Ministry of Magic. But as Harry’s nemesis, Lord Voldemort’s powers grow, the bond among the three Hogwarts schoolmates becomes frayed, and Ron and Harry come to blows.
* The final movie will be premiered on July 7, 2011 in Britain and it opens in theatres eight days later.
* J.K. Rowling completed the manuscript of her first Harry Potter story, called “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” in 1995, having written some of it in local cafes in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she was an unemployed mother living on benefits.
* After being rejected by a series of publishers, Barry Cunningham, then of Bloomsbury publishers, signed up Rowling and the author and company never looked back. Rowling is known as the world’s first “billionaire author.”
* She has sold 400 million copies of her Harry Potter series about the young wizard, his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his battles with the evil Voldemort.
* The seven books are called: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (published in 1997 and also as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in the United States in 1998), “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (1998), “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (1999), “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2000), “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2003), “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2005), “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (2007).
* Rowling told U.S. television talk show host Oprah Winfrey in October 2010 that she cried uncontrollably when she finished the last of her best-selling Potter books.
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Writing by David Cutler, editing by Paul Casciato; London Editorial Reference Unit)