2:48am

Fri July 15, 2011
Business

Harry Potter: The Brand That Will Live Forever?

After 1,178 minutes of total screen time, the Harry Potter film series has finally ended.

The release of the last Harry Potter film is a bittersweet finale not just for fans, but also for the Hollywood film industry and other players in the multibillion-dollar business empire built upon J.K. Rowling's popular book series.

The Loss Of A Franchise

The end began last November with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Now that Warner Bros. Pictures has finally released Part 2, the studio may be entering dark times.

It's losing a major film franchise that's brought in more than $6 billion.

"They're really scrambling right now to find a franchise to replace this Harry Potter franchise," says Matt Belloni, news director of The Hollywood Reporter. "They hope that they can start a superhero franchise with their DC comics heroes."

Warner Bros. has struck box-office gold with the new Batman films. But its latest masked crusader, the Green Lantern, didn't quite catch on with moviegoers.

Nikki Finke, editor and founder of the entertainment news site DeadlineHollywood.com, says the Harry Potter series is a tough act to follow, especially since the films attracted a wide audience.

"You go out there, you try and make a movie that your mother wants to see, as well as you want to see, and your father wants to see, and your brother wants to see. It's hard!" Finke says.

Learning From The King Of Brands

Of course, apart from the movies, there are ongoing Harry Potter enterprises in place.

There's the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Fla., and Pottermore, an online community that will open to the public this fall.

Jack Soden, president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, knows a thing or two about managing iconic brands.

It's been almost 35 years since Elvis' death, but Graceland still draws more than half a million visitors every year.

"What you hear more than anything now is, 'Oh, my mother was a huge fan! You know, I grew up listening to Elvis music in the house, and I became a fan.' And that's how Harry Potter will get passed from generation to generation," Soden says.

If those kids keep buying all things Potter — books, movies, and whatever else they come up with — Harry could go from the "Boy Who Lived" to the "Boy Who Lived Forever."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.