Sunday, June 26, 2011

Harry Potter-nomics

The final Harry Potter film is coming out soon (I think). I'm not really sure of the date, as my fanaticism over the series ended a while back with the 5th book. However, it should be noted, as a commercial and cultural entity, ole' Harry has a has cast a long shadow. I might add that, as a young kid, the Harry Potter books corresponded perfectly with my age (I think). But I do remember standing in line for the 4th outside Barnes and Noble (R.I.P.) at midnight with my dad and friend. Then they made movies. Not only that, but the movies are STILL coming out, years after the books ended. We're doing it all over again, with no love lost.

What's the secret?

I have no idea. But somehow, J. K. Rowling realized that people, old and young, like wizards. If I was more knowledgeable in non-economics stuff, I'd give a theory as to why. For now, let's just accept and look at the numbers.

Harry Potter brand: $4 billion

J.K. herself: $1 billion

Film revenue: $6,343,865,842

But let's end with an anecdote. There is somewhere in Florida, apparently, that is "Harry Potter World." According to my boss, he went there once and was, in so many words, blown away by the absurdity of the place, and more precisely, its customers. It's one thing to read books and watch movies. To travel to Florida, and dress up like a wizard, and visit a place the imitates an imaginary place, well... Let's just say that it's easy to exploit the cult phenomenon for some dubious cash.

At this LaLa land there is a machine. This machine is in the gift shop. In the gift shop, you can buy wands. However, for those who want the real Harry Potter experience, the wand can "Choose" you. So, there are some wands in a machine. Which is for you? Which is most expensive? People don't make the connection. People buy a lot of $80 wands, and probably fewer $30 ones. And no one's complaining... All for a kid who wears glasses, has a scar, gets his ego continually boosted, and plot that's simply too confusing. It's the children's book that adults read. It's 700 pages and still gets read. How is this possible?

Abracadabra! It's magic!

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