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The Harry Potter “Wizarding World” media franchise is one of the most lucrative of all time. A new Morning Consult survey reveals that, decades after the Harry Potter books and their subsequent film adaptations were released, the millennials who grew up with them are still powering the franchise’s mass popularity. And those millennial fans are extremely loyal.
Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. unveiled plans in April to develop a decadelong TV adaptation of the best-selling Harry Potter book series for its recently rebranded Max streaming service, with author J.K. Rowling set to executive produce. The announcement came as some fans, observers and even the film series’ titular star Daniel Radcliffe criticized Rowling’s long history of making controversial remarks about transgender people.
Despite Rowling’s involvement, the vast majority of Harry Potter fans — who are overwhelmingly white and largely male and Democratic — are interested in watching the upcoming TV adaptation, according to the survey. The data also found that 71% of self-identified Harry Potter fans will continue to support the franchise regardless of Rowling’s involvement.
A breakdown of the Harry Potter fandom
- Millennials are by far most likely to identify as avid Harry Potter fans, more than doubling the share of Gen Xers, the generation with the second highest representation. Millennials were raised with Rowling’s books, the first of which hit U.S. stores in 1998, while the film series based on those books began in 2001.
- Only 15% of the avid fandom is made up of Gen Z adults — a smaller share than that of Gen Xers (19%) and only slightly larger than that of baby boomers (14%). The youngest adult generation has poked fun at millennials on TikTok for their ongoing Harry Potter obsession.
- The majority of avid Harry Potter fans are white and politically lean Democratic, while the gender profile is closer to an even split.
More Than Half of Adults Are Interested in the Upcoming Harry Potter TV Adaptation
Rowling’s involvement has no effect on interest in TV series
- More than half of Americans (51%) said they are interested in watching the new Harry Potter series being developed for Max, while the vast majority (90%) of avid Harry Potter fans said the same.
- Unsurprisingly, millennials were the most likely generation to express interest in the upcoming series at 69%. Baby boomers were least likely to show interest in the series at 34%.
- In a separate question, 46% of U.S. adults said they support Harry Potter content regardless of Rowling’s involvement in the franchise moving forward, while 85% of avid fans said the same. Only 6% of all Harry Potter fans said they would never again support the franchise’s content because of the author’s comments.
- In another question, 35% of adults said the show is happening at the right time, while 11% said it is happening too soon after the film series, which last released an installment in 2011. More than half (55%) of avid Harry Potter fans said the series is coming at the right time.
“The ones who love us never really leave us”
A 2022 Morning Consult survey found that 56% of Americans had a favorable opinion of the Harry Potter franchise — more than the share that said the same about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The franchise has continued to be a huge success long after its book and film releases: Warner Bros. Games’ “Hogwarts Legacy” video game earned $850 million and sold more than 12 million units just two weeks after its launch earlier this year despite widespread boycott calls in response to Rowling’s comments.
While a separate Morning Consult survey from last year showed that Rowling’s favorability rating had dipped among younger generations as a result of her remarks, public opinion of the author has improved somewhat since then. The most recent Morning Consult survey from April found the share of Harry Potter fans that have a “very favorable” opinion of Rowling has increased 6 percentage points over the past year from 34% to 40%, while the share with an unfavorable opinion held steady at 17%.
The April 20-23, 2023, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,206 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.