'Harry Potter' nears 'Star Wars' box-office total
Forbes: Sci-fi saga tops list of most lucrative film franchisesLuke Skywalker has Harry Potter breathing down his neck.
So it's a good thing George Lucas is rereleasing the six "Star Wars" feature films in a couple of years; otherwise, he'd be in danger of losing his status as the filmmaker behind the most popular franchise of all time.
The "Star Wars" films have earned $4 billion worldwide, and sales of merchandise account for another $20 billion.
But in calculating its latest list of the most lucrative film franchises, Forbes magazine used only domestic box-office figures, and it did not adjust for inflation.
Still, the franchise born 33 years ago when tickets cost only $2.23 apiece is No. 1, having earned $2 billion domestically. At second, the Harry Potter franchise has taken in $1.7 billion, and with two films remaining it's poised to overtake "Star Wars," but perhaps only temporarily if the "Star Wars" 3D rerelease goes as planned.
James Bond is third on the list with $1.6 billion, owed to there having been an impressive 22 movies featuring the suave British spy. Even if a 23rd happens -- still iffy -- it will be tough for the Bond franchise to remain in the Top 5 much longer, given the competition from Batman, Shrek, Spider-Man, "Priates of the Caribbean," "Star Trek" and others that are still cranking along.
Batman is No. 4 with $1.4 billion, thanks to director Christopher Nolan's successful resurrection of that franchise. The next Batman film Nolan directs is due out in July 2012.
The Shrek franchise is fifth on the list with $1.3 billion, and the November 2011 release of "Puss in Boots" will add to that tally.
After only one film, the "Avatar" franchise didn't quite crack the Top 10, though it was close. Its $750 million domestic haul is only $153 million shy of the four films making up the Indiana Jones franchise, which is 10th on the list.
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