Another year, another Harry Potter sequel brimming with earthy humor, stunning special effects and acting that honors and enriches the J.K. Rowling source material.
It comes as no surprise that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth entry in the series, has already made some serious cash at the box office . The surprise is that a Hollywood franchise has remained so consistently good.
Fellow franchises like James Bond, Star Wars and Star Trek vary madly in quality. Not the Potter films.
If anything, each successive Potter outing grows gets richer and more complicated. And there are still two more films to go—both drawn from the final Potter tome, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Jason, E. Squire, a professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, credits Potter producer David Heyman for keeping the franchise flying high.
Heyman, along with Warner Bros. “have done such a super job of supporting the filmmakers. It’s extremely difficult to do at this high level of cost. You have to admire this level of execution,” says Squire, author of “The Movie Business Book.”
“The numbers prove that. The audience knows,” he adds.
Heyman remains keenly involved with choosing the right directors for the franchise, like Half-Blood Prince director David Yates, and the producer simply struck gold by casting the three leads with an ability to grow with the material.
The Potter franchise isn’t just stateside phenomenon.
“It’s a highly expensive English language film intended for a global audience,“ says Squire. Today’s international film market is lucrative and growing, the “last frontier of the theatrical movie business,“ adds Squire. It’s a huge risk to throw so much money into a film franchise meant to tap into that market.
Harry Medved, a spokesman with the movie ticket site, points to several reasons why Potter films remain a consistent treat.
The new film’s PG rating has attraced even more younger viewers than usual, something surveys done by Fandango.com support, Medved says. The movie’s comedic and romantic elements have also helped to broaden its appeal.
Half-Blood Prince ’s release date delay—the film was originally slated for a Novemeber 2008 debut—kept audiences stoked for more boy wizard theatrics.
Finally, the Potter films keep some of the best British actors working in roles that leverage all of their unique gifts.
“One of the joys of the new Harry Potter movies is getting to see the greatest working actors in British cinema,” says Medved, adding that Half-Blood Prince co-star Jim Broadbent could draw Oscar buzz for his brilliant work in the film.
“Try to imagine anyone else playing Professor Horace Slughorn. It’s such a beautiful, vivid character,” he says, adding another actor might unwisely choose to play the part as a buffoon.
“The performance helped the material rise to another level,” adds Medved.