Twilight vs Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga have reached bewildering popularity over the last decade. Both franchises boast bestselling books, international cult followings and a blockbuster series of movies, earning their creators and associates outrageous amounts of money.

But which is more successful, both as a financial powerhouse and cultural phenomenon? Here the team at puts both franchises through seven gruelling rounds to decide an ultimate victor... let the battle commence!


Harry Potter

Round 1: The books

  • 100 million copies of four Twilight books have been sold worldwide.
  • The first three books in the Twilight series spent a total of 143 consecutive weeks in the New York Times bestseller list.
  • 1.3 million copies of Breaking Dawn were sold in the first day of its release.
  • 400 million copies of Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide.
  • For the US release of the Goblet of Fire, 9,000 FedEx trucks were laid on for the sole purpose of delivering the books.
  • 6.9 million copies of the Half Blood Prince were sold in the first 24 hours of its release.


It is worth taking into account the age of the Twilight series - perhaps in a decade's time, sales of New Moon will have outstripped sales of the Deathly Hallows. At the moment, though, Harry Potter's worldwide dominance is borne out in these statistics.

Twilight: 0

Harry Potter: 1

Round 2

Round 2: Critical reception and controversy

  • Only 50% of critics on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave Eclipse a thumbs up. For the New Moon movie, the figure drops to a forlorn 27%.
  • The Christian Coalition said that the Twilight series of books and films were luring youngsters into the occult. Even thought it was pro-abstinence, it was also pro-vampires.
  • Stephenie Meyer's writing hovers around the 75 mark on the Flesch Reading Ease index, meaning the average eleven-year-old may struggle reading it.
  • The highest scoring Harry Potter film on Rotten Tomatoes is the Prisoner of Azkaban with 90%, with the Philosopher's Stone the lowest with a 'certified fresh' 75%.
  • Fundamentalist Christian groups around the world - though mainly in the United States - claimed that Harry Potter was leading children to Satanism and called for it to be banned. It is banned from schools in the UAE for being un-Islamic.
  • Harry Potter scores about 85 on the Flesch Reading Ease index, making it suitable for ten year olds.


While Rowling's penmanship is more accessible to all ages, Meyer's novels were met with less controversy and the only serious book-burning that went on involved disgruntled vampires in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, the movies let Twilight down, so this category can only be a draw.

Twilight: 1

Harry Potter: 2

Round 3

Round 3: Box Office Takings

  • To date, the Twilight saga has grossed £1.03bn ($1.7bn) worldwide over three motion pictures - Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse. Another is due out this year.
  • Twilight is the highest grossing film by a female director, making just over £239m ($392.6m).
  • The most popular Twilight movie, Eclipse, ranked 43rd globally in terms of all-time box office success.
  • To date, the Harry Potter films have grossed £3.8bn ($6.3bn) worldwide from seven movies. The final instalment comes out this year.
  • Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone ranks 8th in the global box office takings chart.
  • Ticket sales for The Philosopher's Stone in the USA represented around a fifth of the country's population.


Perhaps controversially, we're going to give this one to Twilight; Harry Potter may have had the greatest success so far, but Twilight is performing better in terms of box office takings per film.

Twilight: 2

Harry Potter: 2

Round 4

Round 4: Movie budgets

  • Twilight, the first in the Twilight Saga movie series, had a budget of £22.4m ($37m), the lowest of all the Twilight films.
  • The highest budget in the Twilight series will be used to fund the making of 2011's Breaking Dawn; this is expected to come in at around £159.5m ($263m).
  • The total budget for the three Twilight Saga films made to date is just £94m ($155m), only slightly more than the budget for Harry Potter's Goblet of Fire alone. Breaking Dawn, the last instalment in the Twilight series, has not been finished and is not included in this total.
  • The cheapest Harry Potter movie, the Chamber of Secrets, had a budget of £60.6m ($100m).
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince currently boasts the sixth biggest budget in cinema history, totalling around £152m ($250m).
  • The combined cost of all seven Harry Potter films is projected to be £776m ($1.28bn).


The Harry Potter films had much larger budgets than the Twilight series, but the team here at know that investments have to see returns. In this case, the profits from the Harry Potter movies more than justified the initial outlay, so the wizard wins this round though the final movies for each franchise may see the tables turn in the future.

Twilight: 2

Harry Potter: 3

Round 5

Round 5: Author success

  • Stephanie Meyer was paid £455,000 ($750,000) for her first manuscript, even though she was a first-time author...
  • ... she's now worth £85m ($140m).
  • Forbes ranked her as the 59th most powerful celebrity as a result of her success.
  • JK Rowling has a staggering personal fortune of just over £600m ($1bn).
  • She was given just £1,500 ($2,500) for her manuscript when she first presented it to Bloomsbury.
  • JK Rowling is the world's first billionaire author.


No author has ever been as successful as JK Rowling in their own lifetime, but it took her over a decade to reach this level of superstardom. Stephanie Meyer had earned her first million within a couple of months of publication. Harry Potter wins this round, but only just.

Twilight: 2

Harry Potter: 4

Round 6

Round 6: Rate of growth

  • The movie New Moon grossed £44.1m ($72.7m) on its first day of release, breaking all records.
  • The first Twilight novel was released in October 2005, meaning that the entire franchise has grown to be worth billions in just five years.
  • The novel hit #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list within a month of its release.
  • 15 million copies of the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were sold within the first 24 hours, setting a new world record as the quickest-selling book of all time.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published in 1997. It has taken the Harry Potter brand fourteen years to reach its current size.
  • The initial publication of the first book was a small run of just 500 hardback copies, most of which went to libraries. Uptake of the book was slow.


While Harry Potter has arguably been more successful in the long run, Twilight shot into popularity almost immediately. It was a matter of weeks before it was making millions and a matter of months before it was making history. Twilight definitely wins this round.

Twilight: 3

Harry Potter: 4

Round 7

Round 7: Wealth of the stars

  • Lead actor Robert Pattinson - who also played Cedric Diggory in the Goblet of Fire - is estimated to be worth around $55m.
  • Lead actress Kristen Stewart is estimated to be worth around the same as Pattinson, having worked in Hollywood since she was eight years old. Both earned an average of $28m each for their work on the Twilight series so far.
  • The two male stars of Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, have a net worth of around £36m ($60m) and £30m ($50m) respectively.
  • Emma Watson, now the face of Chanel and model for Burberry, is worth £43m ($72m). She was Hollywood's highest paid female star in 2009 and 2010 and is one of the richest youngsters in Britain.


The Harry Potter cast win this category. They're richer - at least for now - and at a younger age. Emma Watson said she "felt sick" when she found out how much the motion pictures had earned her. It must have been awful... wishes her a speedy recovery!

Twilight: 3

Harry Potter: 5

And there we have it: is proud to announce Harry Potter as the winner, with the wizards ruling victorious over the vampires on most criteria. Of course, it may all change as the final films are released for each franchise...

Posted by Hannah