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Harry Potter enchants entertainment industry, goes green

POSTED JULY 23 AT 12:35 A.M.

Harry Potter doesn’t just speak Parseltongue, he also speaks green. J.K. Rowling turns her once timid character into a multi-billion money making mogul as well as a green-friendly spokesman for the publishing industry.

It is a story 10 years in the making. And since 1997, Rowling has been building her own international cult of Harry Potter fans. For those who were Harry’s age when book one was first published, they follow Harry on his journey and received their invitation to Hogwarts while in sixth grade, were deciding between colleges as Harry was preparing for his O.W.L.S. and began their job hunt while Harry prepared for his final duel.

Harry’s charm didn’t just enchant children, all ages have been drawn to and entertained by the series’ magical allure of witchcraft and wizardry-and entertained they were. With the recent release by the Nielsen Company, Harry Potter’s magical influence spread far beyond the couches and living rooms of readers but over the entire entertainment industry. So after you finish reading the seventh book, take a minute and consider these numbers:

Books

* More than 27.7 million copies of the Harry Potter titles have been sold in the United States since 2001, the first year of the U.S. Nielsen BookScan panel.
* According to the book’s publisher, Scholastic, the 2000 release of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (book four) sold an estimated three million copies in the first 48 hours of release, winning the title of “fastest-selling book in history” – a title which was taken by book five, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” during its 2003 release.
* The 2005 release of book six, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” sold 4.1 million copies on the first day alone (preorders included). Consider the average price of the book at $20 and that totals $82 million in sales.
* While the “The Da Vinci Code” tops the chart for the US’s top selling books since 2001, Harry Potter books occupy spots numbers two, three and eight.

Films

* Measured by the Nielsen EDI, the first four Harry Potter films grossed more than $3.5 billion worldwide combined.
* The first Harry Potter film, “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone,” is the fourth all-time highest grossing film worldwide with $974.7 million worldwide at the box office.
* Since 2002, the Harry Potter movies have been telecasted 366 times on U.S. television on five networks (ABC, Disney, ABC Family, Cinemax and HBO).

Consumer Products and Advertisements

* US consumers have spent more than $11.8 million on Harry Potter licensed trademark food products (cookies, candy and gum) since 2002. (And some of these candied products include Cockroach Clusters, Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Jelly Beans-in all flavors).
* Since 1998, US advertisements for all Harry Potter branded merchandise have totaled $269.2 million.

Music

* The four soundtracks of the Harry Potter movies have sold over 1.1 million US copies.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

* According to Nielsen’s movie attendee profile, 53 percent of people who have read at least one Harry Potter book plan on reading the final book and 40 percent of those plan on reading upon release.
* According to Scholastic publishing, “Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows” sold 8.3 million copies in the first 24 hours.
* According to Borders Group, Inc. first day sales for the seventh book at Borders bookstores alone totaled 1.2 million and an estimated 800,000 Harry Potter fans attended celebrations in its US locations.

Harry Goes Green

* According to a PRNewswire release, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is considered within the publishing industry to be the most environmentally friendly book in publishing history with 16 countries printing the book on eco-friendly paper.
* They claim that the English-language editions of the seventh book result in savings of 197,685 trees (about 2.5 times the size of New York’s Central Park) and 7.9 million kilograms of greenhouse gases.
* Markets Initiative, a Vancouver-based environmental group, has worked with J.K. Rowling since 2003 in efforts to help turn books green. The group has helped developed 32 new ecological papers (six for Harry exclusively).
* The green momentum spurred by the Harry Potter’s series helped influence 300 publishers worldwide to print on eco-friendly papers.
* According to Idealbite.com, a green-friendly website, they found that of the 16,700 tons of paper used in the first printing of the seventh book, 65 percent of it was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as sustainably harvested.

While the wait to see Harry Potter’s fate is complete, fans don’t have to worry about Potter withdrawal. The sixth movie is tentatively scheduled for release in November 2008 as well as Universal Studio’s opening of its Harry Potter-themed adventure (Hogwarts and Hogsmeade included) in late 2009.

*Information in this article is attributed to the Nielsen Company’s July 2007 release as well as PRNewswire, Scholastics and Borders Group, Inc.

Bari Lieberman may be contacted at b.lieberman@umiami.edu.

April 27, 2007

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