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When it comes down to these two vastly disparate, yet majorly successful film franchises, deciding which is more “successful” can be a bit of a challenge, as you first have to determine what constitutes success.

Both Harry Potter and the Avengers boast devout fan followings, impressive box office earnings, and widespread international influence. So, how do you decide which franchise is more successful? Let’s break it down.

Harry Potter vs. The Avengers
Harry Potter Photo: Dave Hogan / Contributor / Hulton Archive and Avengers: Civil War Photo: David M. Benett / Contributor / WireImage

Success is defined in many different ways – from accomplishing a goal to attaining prosperity or reaching a venture’s ideal outcome – but certain factors should be considered when analyzing films. This side-by-side franchise comparison will take into account box office earnings, idea ingenuity and influence, and cultural phenomenon status (and yes, the latter two will be difficult to quantify).

While several films outside of the Avengers also augment the Avengers series and contribute to the MCU’s success, this piece will focus on The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, and the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.

At the box office: The Avengers (Pre- ‘Avengers: Endgame’) vs. Harry Potter

According to ABC News, the 8-film adaptation of JK Rowling’s seven-book series earned a total of $7.7 billion. However, it’s imperative to note that, if comparing total Box Office earnings, the Avengers is at a severe disadvantage, as there are more Harry Potter films, so let’s break it down on a film-by-film basis.

Avengers: Infinity War earned $2.048 billion alone at the Box Office, while Avengers: Age of Ultron took in $1.405 billion, and the first Avengers film earned $1.519 billion. Adding this all up, the Avengers franchise has already made $4.972 billion, and the third movie hasn’t even been released yet.

It’s more than possible that, given the hype surrounding the final Avengers’ film, that the franchise will surpass Harry Potter in box office earnings, despite putting out four fewer films! Only one Harry Potter movie surpassed the billion-dollar mark, and it was Deathly Hallows.

Even accounting for inflation, most of the Harry Potter films would have fallen short of The Avengers domestic ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. While an “adjusted for inflation” calculation was not done for worldwide sales, the domestic differences remain between $100 and 200K after accounting for inflation

The Verdict: Avengers takes the Box Office factor when it comes to success, as is it evident that, with more films, the series would have far surpassed Harry Potter.

Idea ingenuity and influence: The Avengers vs. Harry Potter

So, what does idea ingenuity imply exactly? Well, how original was the idea? This one is hard because both movies are based on written source material. While one took books and made screenplays, the other took comics and produced screenplays. Thus, neither film was initially created for the silver screen.

The difference: Harry Potter was still the first movie of its kind, featuring an entire wizarding world and school – whereas several Avengers heroes had already appeared on the small (and big screen alike) before RDJ donned the Iron Man suit for the first time in 2008. Captain America and The Hulk were both the center of major TV series back in the day.

While it may be unfair to make this point, as the comics have been around much longer, you could still argue that turning the comics – once again – into films was less of a risk, as people were already familiar with the characters, and had already enjoyed shows with them leading the way. Thus, Harry Potter still presented a more daring venture, as it was an utterly untraveled territory.

Harry Potter also spawned several like-minded novels, including The Magicians series, the Charlie Bone series, and The Percy Jackson series, all three of which have frequently been compared to JK Rowling’s original works.

The Verdict: Harry Potter takes the gold for idea ingenuity and influence

Cultural phenomenon status: Harry Potter vs The Avengers

Let us not forget that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter exists in Disney. This franchise was so successful that the world’s most renowned amusement park went and dedicated a whole lot of land to the series. However, according to The Verge, Disney is set to add more Marvel properties to Disneyland Resorts. A New “completely immersive superhero universe” will be coming to the California location.

It goes without saying that both The Avengers franchise and the Harry Potter franchise are cultural phenomenons, as the fandom existing around both are inspiringly vast. Something is considered a “cultural phenomenon” when it gains extreme widespread popularity, which both series have done. However, which one comes out on top?

Both series reach all audiences – adults and children alike – even though Harry Potter was exclusively a YA series aimed at kids. However, in the early 2000s, when geek culture was still mostly underground, according to Vox, Harry Potter made it okay to come out of the shadows and be a complete fan-fiction lover. The series paved the way for fandom culture.

On the other hand, the Avengers saga is renowned for breaking former superhero norms. The series allows its heroes to make decisions that, to many, may not be considered heroic; thus, changing the previous landscape surrounding superhero movies.

The Verdict: Tie for cultural phenomenon status.