Wizards versus vampires? 2011-2012 was a vintage year for the teenage fantasy market, with the final showdown for boy-wizard Harry Potter in The Deathly Hallows, Part II up against ‘Breaking Dawn Part II’, the fourth and final movie in the Twilight teenage vampire series inspired by Stephanie Meyer’s books.
These two adaptations of phenomenally popular youth fiction made billions for the studios, Lionsgate (Breaking Dawn) and Times Warner (Deathly Hallows). Each sees the central characters facing familiar good vs. evil struggles alongside increasingly adult themes.
With an all-star cast (Daniel Radcliffe’s last boyish role, with Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman providing heavyweight support) and a rip-roaring JK Rowling plot, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows 2 was released in summer 2011.
It sees a grown-up Harry engaged in a final battle against the evil Voldemort, alongside his Hogwarts companions, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The trio embark on a quest to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes, which preserve the wizard-gone-wrong’s immortality.
This eighth Harry Potter movie, the last, was a rite of passage for fans all over the world who had grown up with the characters. It turned out to be a huge critical success and, not surprisingly, one of the best-selling films of all time, grossing $1.34billion worldwide.
On the other side, Potter fans are rivalled only by devotees of the Twilight saga. Both camps regularly attack each other on social media, providing huge amounts of free publicity for the studios. But in 2012 it was the turn of the teenage vampire crew to camp out in advance of the final twist in the bloodsucking romance.
Breaking Dawn 2 sees the heroine, Bella, in a new phase of life as a vampire, married to Edward who has been forced to bite her in order to save her. We see Bella, who has given birth to a half-human, half-vampire child, embarking on her first hunt, in the course of which she fells and eats a lion.
The movie centres around the couple’s fight to save their child from the forces of evil. It’s a toothsome finale to a very successful saga that, not surprisingly, was a huge box office success, grossing $829.7m for Lionsgate without even a ripple caused by lead actress Kristen Stewart’s scandal-hit summer.
Times Warner towers over Lionsgate financially, with CFD trading company IG placing their market cap at $35.8bn vs the much smaller $5.8bn for Lionsgate, and has to be considered the winning studio with Harry Potter outperforming Breaking Dawn at the box office.
However, the smaller studio was helped by Breaking Dawn and another teenage franchise, Hunger Games, to a massive 95.6% growth in its share price between 2012 and 2015, making it a worthy contender.