High-five: Harry does it fifth time

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Media | July 17, 2007
The path hasn't changed for Hollywood's successful bandwagon, as the latest English release has hit the bull's eye, much like its four predecessors

It has been & #BANNER1 & # a summer of sequels. 'Shrek', 'Spiderman', 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Die Hard' have all received updates in the last few months, but nothing as big as the latest in the Potter series - 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'.

The path hasn't changed for Hollywood's successful bandwagon. The latest big English release has hit the bull's eye, much like its four predecessors.

"The movie has opened to a phenomenal crowd. It's a 100 per cent opening at most centres across India," says movie critic Taran Adarsh. While sequels are notorious for their capacity to disappoint, this one has managed to surpass audience expectations.

'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' is the fifth movie based on the series of seven fantasy novels by English author JK Rowling about an adolescent boy named Harry Potter. The story is mostly set at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a school for young wizards and witches, and focuses on Harry Potter's fight against the evil wizard, Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents as part of his plan to take over the wizarding world.

Although, the first book came out in 1997, it took the world four years to realise the size of the Potter brand - the facts sunk in only with the release of the first movie in 2001. Games and merchandise were introduced in the same year.

"The response to Potter movies, as compared to Potter books, was sluggish initially, but the 70mm versions of the novels have gone from strength to strength," says Sanjay Narayanan, marketing head, Warner Bros India. Sanjay reveals that box office collections have improved at the rate of 40 per cent since the first movie.

Sales of the books, too, have progressively set new marks. Since the release of the first novel, 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' (retitled 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' in the USA) in 1997, the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide.

"The six books published to date have collectively sold more than 325 million copies and have been translated into 63 languages," says a study on Harry Potter and its impact on the entertainment industry by AC Neilsen.

After the recent good run of Hollywood big titles, the latest Potter movie is all set to rewrite old records in India as well.

"'Order of the Phoenix' is the best bet to rewrite the box office record set by 'Spiderman 3' when it toppled the long-held record of 'Titanic'," adds Adarsh.

Naryanan is of the opinion that the overwhelming response received by the Potter series over the years is responsible for the success of the latest movie, and that the release of the final book on July 21 will set up the releases of the last two movies.

Rowling's seventh and final novel, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows', is set to debut on bookshelves on July 21, while Warner Brothers is already working on movies No. 6 and No. 7.