On 26th June 1997, the first edition of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone – the first in what would become a series of seven novels written by J. K. Rowling about the boy wizard – was released in the UK. Twenty years on, Potter is one of the hottest literary franchises around with more than 450 million copies of the books sold in 79 different languages worldwide. There’s no doubt that Harry Potter has been a source of considerable profits for many, but who have been the biggest winners in this game of financial Quidditch over the past two decades?
Bloomsbury – After being rejected by a number of publishers since completing the first novel in the series in 1995, it was Bloomsbury who finally gave Jo Rowling the break she had been looking for two years later by agreeing to publish The Philosopher’s Stone in an initial run of 500 hardback copies. Twenty years later, Harry Potter is still working his magic at Bloomsbury: last year alone the book series saw sales growth of 133%, with the publisher’s revenue increasing by 57%.
Warner Bros. – With the popularity of the novels amongst both younger and older readers, a transfer to the big screen was inevitable. Since the film adaptation of The Philosopher’s Stone was released in 2001, the nine films (including last year’s prequel spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) have together earned over $8.5 billion worldwide from a collective budget of $1.335 billion. Potter has been a serious money-spinner for Warner Bros., who have distributed all the films to date and have a sequel to Fantastic Beasts due out in 2018.
Joanne Rowling – The woman who dreamt up Harry Potter has her creation to thank for taking her from rags to riches. A broke single mother at the time the first novel was published, Rowling’s earnings before tax in 2016-2017 were estimated to be around £73 million. Whilst the main source of her wealth still comes from book sales, she also earns money from the film adaptations and other sources such as revenue from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.