J.K. Rowling’s rags to riches story is the kind of thing dreams are made of. From single mother on government assistance to uncontested queen of the literary world, Rowling has reached heights far greater than most writers—most anyone, really—could ever hope to achieve, and deservedly so.
The success of Harry Potter is staggering to consider. Through 7 books and 8 movies, Rowling oversaw the development of an empire that spread across the globe, crossing generational lines to become a bone fide phenomenon. Along the way, she amassed a fortune, with some estimates putting her personal net worth around the $1 billion mark. Popularity has yet to die down, with new generations of readers coming to the series on a continual basis. People want more and more from Rowling’s magical world, fueling the success of the prequel/spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is already amassing a fortune of its own.
In a new report from Variety, the latest entry from Rowling’s Wizarding World has already taken in $500 million at the global box office less than two weeks after its release. The numbers are impressive, but it just goes to prove how popular the Wizarding World continues to be, in addition to speaking to the rich and wonderful mythology created by Rowling. According to Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of international distribution and growth initiatives for Warner Bros.:
“The enthusiastic global response to Fantastic Beasts proves once again that the appeal of the wizarding world transcends language and borders. We, too, foresee strong holds through the holidays and well into the new year.”
This sentiment was echoed by WB domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein, who said:
“Anticipation grew exponentially in the weeks leading up to the release of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ and now with the film in theaters we are seeing strong word of mouth and repeat attendance, which should carry the film through the holiday season and beyond.”
There’s no doubt that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will remain a series contender for box office dominance as the holidays approach, even in the face of opposition from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is being released in a few weeks. The buzz for the Fantastic Beasts continues to grow, and there’s a good chance that the film could benefit from the release of a new Star Wars, as families shut out by sold out shows look for other films to see instead.
All of this is great news for WB, which recently confirmed that Fantastic Beasts will have 4 sequels that delve into the annals of wizarding world history. While it’s doubtful that the films will top the $10 billion in worldwide box office sales that Harry Potter reached, the series could potentially very easily take in a few billion all together, especially if these numbers keep up.
None of that should be surprising, however, for fans of Rowling’s Wizarding World. The richly imagined world is packed with characters and stories far beyond the scope of the original series’ scope, and there’s still plenty of more to tell as the Fantastic Beasts series moves on. As great as this news might be for Rowling and her brand, it’s even better for the fans, most of whom have clamored for more from this universe in the years since the last Harry Potter book and movies were released. Their wish was granted, and the rewards are now flying in for everyone involved.