End nears for blockbuster Harry Potter film series

* Penultimate Harry Potter film premieres on Thursday

* Final J.K. Rowling book split into two movies

* Young stars contemplate life after Hogwarts

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON, Nov 8 (BestGrowthStock) – 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
(TWX.N: ), 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.


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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 Nov. 19.

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


In Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry, Ron and Hermione set out
on a mission to track down and destroy the secret to evil Lord
Voldemort’s immortality and destruction — the Horcruxes.

The movie trailer, part of a major marketing campaign
running for several weeks already, suggests the film will
feature a familiar mix of spectacular action sequences and
increasingly dark storyline with the added twist of a bust-up
between close friends Harry and Ron.

The actors playing the three central characters for the last
decade have begun a gruelling round of interviews to promote the
film, and have spoken of mixed feelings about a franchise that
quickly turned them into A-list stars and millionaires.

Emma Watson, who plays Hermione, told Vogue that she was
shocked to learn of the size of her fortune when she was aged 17
or 18. She is estimated to be worth around 20 million pounds.

And in a hint of the personal sacrifices such wealth and
stardom can demand of child stars, when asked about her new
pixie-style short haircut, the 20-year-old replied:

“For the nine years I was on ‘Harry Potter’ I was
contractually obliged not to cut my hair, not to tan. All the
normal things girls do, I couldn’t. So when I got the chance to
change my appearance, this is what I did.”

Daniel Radcliffe, 21, who plays Harry, is estimated to have
a personal fortune of 40 million pounds. Speaking to the Sunday
Times, he described the Potter films as “rather like the mafia.
Once you’re in, you’re never out.”
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

End nears for blockbuster Harry Potter film series