The final film in the super successful Harry Potter film franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2, opened in the United States this past weekend. It not only set a box office record for midnight showings ($43.5 million), it totally crushed opening day box office records ( $92.1 million on Friday). That’s not only the biggest opening-day draw of all time, it’s the highest-grossing single day in U.S. box office history. Then it went on to become the highest domestic opening weekend ($169.2 million), and highest global opening weekend ($478.2 million). All told, the film earned a remarkable $542.5 million worldwide in just four days.
I’ve been writing about this magical film and book series since I started blogging back in 2007. In July of that year I wrote this post and reviewed the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which follows the 5th book in the series, as well as the release of the latest book at the time, Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 1. So if you’ve read any of these past posts of mine you would know that I have two daughters who are huge Harry Potter fans. They have both grown up to be avid readers, especially my older daughter Kelsey who has consumed most of these books in one 24-hour period.
Kelsey took some time off from her summer job to attend the midnight premiere of the movie with some friends. They went to a theater that was showing Deathly Hallows Part 1 at 9am and then the new film, Part 2, at midnight. My daughters and their friends are prime examples of the audience of kids who started reading Harry Potter when they were young, about the same age as Harry in the first book, and have continued to grow up along with the characters. Kelsey turned 21 this year, and so did Danielle Radcliffe that portrays Harry in the films. She was 17 when the last book hit the bookshelves, as was Harry.
So for my family it’s the end of an era. These books and films will be passed down to the next generation and the younger kids today are hopefully reading them. Now they can read the series one book after another. With my daughters and their friends they had to wait very impatiently for the next book to come out. During that time Kelsey would re-read the last book prior to the launch of the next. This summer she read the entire series again prior to the movie release.
Not only has my daughter changed since I wrote that first blog post about Harry Potter, but so has the marketing for the films. Back in 2007 the digital component of the marketing campaign for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix consisted of a webmasters section on the official website in which visitors could integrate the movie trailer, images, banners, and MySpace Skins to create their own websites. Yes, MySpace, which was THE Social Network at the time.
Warner Bros. has definitely kicked up its social media marketing activities since then. For Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2, they integrated the following social networks to promote the film:
Facebook: Warner Bros. launched the Harry Potter Movie Facebook page some time ago and are currently using this page to promote Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. It currently has over 30 million fans who have “liked” the page. The Independent reported on the growth of Facebook “like” activity in the days leading up to the film’s London premiere. In the week before the premiere (which occurred on July 7), the Harry Potter Facebook Page gained nearly 100,000 new fans per day.
The studio frequently posts images and uses apps to share behind-the-scenes info, interviews with stars, links to articles and reviews and movie trailers. There is a ticket finder app and the studio also allows fans to rent and watch films right on Facebook.
Twiter: The HarryPotterFilm Twitter page isn’t as active as the Facebook Page with just over 360,000 followers, however it does a good job engaging with users, sharing links to interviews and articles, posting photos, linking to YouTube and other associated apps. At the New York premiere of Deathly Hallows, photos from the event were live-tweeted using TwitPic. Also the Harry Potter brand is very popular on Twitter, with many character names from the series frequently becoming trending topics.
YouTube: For this final film, Deathly Hallows Part 2, YouTube was a big component. The Harry Potter YouTube channel has become the hub for trailer uploads, fan-made spoofs, official clips, TV spots and interviews. The red carpet from the London premiere of Deathly Hallows Part 2 was livestreamed on YouTube, as well as on other video streaming services like Ustream and Livestream. The YouTube page contains a special highlight reel from the premiere, as well.
The YouTube page was designed in such a way that it shows off not only videos from the channel, but gives fans access to real-time updates from Facebook and Twitter from official feeds, members of the cast, fan sites and the Harry Potter: The Quest web game. The tool is also accessible from the Harry Potter Facebook Page. It really helps to integrate all conversations going on from the three different social media platforms from both the fans and the studio.
Social media marketing has become a big part of the marketing mix in just the four years since I’ve been writing about the Harry Potter series and it’s probably even greater if you compare it to when the first film was released almost 10 years ago in November of 2001. So I’m wondering what the marketing campaigns will look like for a film of this magnitude in another four years from now? Anyone want to make some predictions?