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Þekþiþm

Do kids even care about Harry Potter anymore?

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I was chatting to a friend today who's a school teacher and I asked her what teenagers even like these days, especially something with as much wide reaching pop culture power as Harry Potter had in the 2000s. On this forum, we all recall how much of an ingrained phenomenon that series became at the time, but my friend reckons the kids have pretty much zero interest in it.

 

So I asked "what do they like now instead?" She struggled with answering that question and started babbling on about a heap of obscure internet TV shows that teenagers seem to like, but I had to keep interrupting her, saying "stop, I've never heard of any of these, I'm asking what is the present day IP equivalent to the pop culture phenomenon that Harry Potter was in the 2000s?"

 

"Well, they liked Twilight for a while."

 

"That was ages ago and was a HP copycat cash-in anyway, what else is there?"

 

"Well... superheroes?"

 

Okay, we sort of agreed on that. But is that all? I was a bit disturbed by how she described today's kids and how they treat their entertainment with such ephemeral disregard and how quickly and eagerly they dispose their interests one week in favour of the next hip trend. Nothing is ever for keeps. In the bin it goes tomorrow. I know this has always been a thing for every generation (I even used to work with a guy with this bewildering attitude), but these new ones do it at such breakneck speed, it's a wonder how anyone can keep up!

 

Oh and SW, surprisingly that's still popular, but only the new ones. She reckons if you showed them the older ones, they'd dismiss them as "lame". I said "so pretty much no appreciation for classic stories, huh?"

 

"Nope."

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I reckon the books will have significant longevity as they’re written in a fairly timeless style and could appeal to an indefinite number of future generations. They’re certainly not as popular as they were 20 years ago in their heyday, but they’ll likely outlast their ancestors for the next few decades, namely the Enid Blyton mystery novels.

 

Kids today may not read them as the movies are still pretty recent in our cultural memory. But they’ll have a smaller but consistent audience in the same way Tolkien’s books did decades after their publication.

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I guess the options today are so vast and huge that kids have no time or disposition to become attached to anything.

 

I mean, the new season of Stranger Things comes out, everyone talks about it a lot on the internet, and then a week later nobody even remembers what happened in what episode, because the next big thing is already there. Game of Thrones the same thing, everyone discussed each episode on detail when the final season was airing, then like one month later nobody cared anymore.

 

Star Wars the same thing, for now everyone is discussing if TROS is a good or a bad movie, if it is a satisfactory ending for the saga, etc. But when the next "hip and cool" Netflix show comes out, nobody will even be discussing TROS anymore (well, maybe us here will still be figuring out Williams' score and how butchered it was by Abrams, but anyway).
 

When the Original Trilogy was coming out, these kinds of super sized entertainment were more rare. From Jaws until about the 90s, it was pretty much one big movie like that per year: Jaws in 75, ANH in 77, Superman in 78, ESB in 80, Raiders in 81, ET in 82, ROTJ in 83, TOD and Ghostbusters in 84, BTTF in 85...

 

Now, these days, we have these humongous entertainment companies shelling out not only dozens of mega-sized blockbusters on theaters, but also TV shows with pretty much the same scale and scope that you can binge in a weekend. You don't even have time to absorb Endgame or TROS, because on the next day everyone is already talking about Game of Thrones or The Witcher.

 

On HP's case, there was pretty much nothing like that on its time: charismatic characters with whom kids could relate, aging at the same time as them, passing through the same challenges of growing up as them, but also learning magic, battling evil wizards, etc. These days, there is SO MUCH STUFF that even the thing that COULD'VE been like HP on its combination of coming-of-age and fantasy (Stranger Things) is already forgotten one week later its latest season came out. So you can't be attached to anything.

 

But yeah, answering the question of the thread, kids these days don't care about HP. Maybe one day, when the children that grew up with it start having kids of their own and showing them the books/movies (that is, if they don't "cancel" JK Rowling because of a tweet or something)...

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3 minutes ago, Edmilson said:

(that is, if they don't "cancel" JK Rowling because of a tweet or something)...

 

That's the other worrying thing. Where the vanguards of popular culture and telecommunications zealously seek to purge/erase public figures who veer outside their lane.

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Kids still like and discover Harry Potter.  At the same time, Harry Potter itself will never have as much cache with today's kids as it did for kids 20 years ago because kids today already know the whole schmear about HP.  They could binge the books in a few weeks, or binge the movies in a day or two.   Pop culture phenomenons become that way due to discovery and anticipation en masse - if the thing finished over a decade ago and everybody knows about it, it's not ever going to be pop culture behemoth again.

 

I think Marvel has found a way to concoct that feeling in a laboratory instead of organically, so I don't know why you'd be so quick to shrug that one off.

 

If we're going to hand-wave away Marvel - or even if we're not - my bigger question is, why do you feel there needs to be a "present day IP equivalent to the pop cultural phenomenon that Harry Potter was in the 2000s?"  What value does powerful intellectual property have, and what is culture missing by not having one?  Is there a negative to children having disparate interests instead of one big interest?

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The books still sell extremely well and it’s still popular with kids but it’ll never reach the hight it did in the 00s. 
 

Hopefully the superhero fad will end soon. It’s gone on too long. The world needs something different.  

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23 minutes ago, Demodex said:

My daughter is 11 and loves Harry Potter!  She hasn't read all the books yet but is currently on Book 5. She has seen the movies multiple times, and the only music she ever asks to listen to is the soundtracks.  

Does she care about Fantastic Beasts at all? That would be an interesting study: how many kids like HP and how many like FB?

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I just recently left a job working for a used bookstore and in the year I worked there I shipped several bulk orders of at least 2-3 Potters a day. So people are reading, but yeah, I think it’s gonna be one of those things everybody just kinda knows whether or not they’ve really checked it out for themselves, like Star Wars.

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18 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

how many kids like HP and how many like FB?

 

Not many, probably. According to Box Office Mojo, on the opening weekend of Crimes of Grindelwald 69% of the overall audience was 25 years old or older, a number almost exactly as the same as for the first FB movie. So, these were people who were born on the late 80s/early 90s and certainly grew up with the books and movies.

 

On other words, the Fantastic Beasts movies are attracting almost exclusively the fans. It's a different situation than with the Star Wars Prequels and Sequels, which have been able to attract a newer, younger audience, who didn't necessarily grow up with the Original Trilogy. 

 

That's the main problem with these FB movies: they are solely for the fans, while failing on bringing up new audiences for the movies. Younger people these days can recite how many Infinity Stones there is and where they were found, but couldn't care less about Newt, Tina, Grindelwald, etc.

 

You'll probably find a lot of people that says or will say "I grew up with the Star Wars prequels!", "I grew up with the Disney Sequels" or "I grew up with The Hobbit movies!". But not many people saying "I grew up with Fantastic Beasts movies".

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I never cared. It was only on my radar because of John Williams. Tried to read book 1 but got bored about 100 pages in (or less), then tried it again some years later but just couldn't get into it.

 

Karol

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1 hour ago, Edmilson said:

 

Not many, probably. According to Box Office Mojo, on the opening weekend of Crimes of Grindelwald 69% of the overall audience was 25 years old or older, a number almost exactly as the same as for the first FB movie. So, these were people who were born on the late 80s/early 90s and certainly grew up with the books and movies.

 

On other words, the Fantastic Beasts movies are attracting almost exclusively the fans. It's a different situation than with the Star Wars Prequels and Sequels, which have been able to attract a newer, younger audience, who didn't necessarily grow up with the Original Trilogy. 

 

That's the main problem with these FB movies: they are solely for the fans, while failing on bringing up new audiences for the movies. Younger people these days can recite how many Infinity Stones there is and where they were found, but couldn't care less about Newt, Tina, Grindelwald, etc.

 

You'll probably find a lot of people that says or will say "I grew up with the Star Wars prequels!", "I grew up with the Disney Sequels" or "I grew up with The Hobbit movies!". But not many people saying "I grew up with Fantastic Beasts movies".

Yeah, I was born in 93 and even I don't care about the Beasts characters. Well, Tina is the exception, but if they spend movie 3 torturing that mumbling, bumbling Newt guy, I won't even give a damn. And the fact that JKR already said three years ago that Tina and Newt will retire and be married at the end of 5 doesn't help either.

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6 hours ago, Þekþiþm said:

I was chatting to a friend today who's a school teacher and I asked her what teenagers even like these days, especially something with as much wide reaching pop culture power as Harry Potter had in the 2000s. On this forum, we all recall how much of an ingrained phenomenon that series became at the time, but my friend reckons the kids have pretty much zero interest in it.

 

So I asked "what do they like now instead?" She struggled with answering that question and started babbling on about a heap of obscure internet TV shows that teenagers seem to like, but I had to keep interrupting her, saying "stop, I've never heard of any of these, I'm asking what is the present day IP equivalent to the pop culture phenomenon that Harry Potter was in the 2000s?"

 

"Well, they liked Twilight for a while."

 

"That was ages ago and was a HP copycat cash-in anyway, what else is there?"

 

"Well... superheroes?"

 

Okay, we sort of agreed on that. But is that all? I was a bit disturbed by how she described today's kids and how they treat their entertainment with such ephemeral disregard and how quickly and eagerly they dispose their interests one week in favour of the next hip trend. Nothing is ever for keeps. In the bin it goes tomorrow. I know this has always been a thing for every generation (I even used to work with a guy with this bewildering attitude), but these new ones do it at such breakneck speed, it's a wonder how anyone can keep up!

 

Oh and SW, surprisingly that's still popular, but only the new ones. She reckons if you showed them the older ones, they'd dismiss them as "lame". I said "so pretty much no appreciation for classic stories, huh?"

 

"Nope."

 

Is this your way of hitting on a school teacher? That's cute! :)

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You almost have to wonder... does making movies or TV shows out of a particular book series essentially kills it.

 

If there's no movie or tv series then you are forced to read the books.

 

Arundhati Roy said that she would never sell rights to make a movie out of her novel the god of small things for that reason.

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41 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

You almost have to wonder... does making movies or TV shows out of a particular book series essentially kills it.

 

 

I don't think it does. If I hadn't have watched the film version of The Prisoner of Azkaban I probably never would have read the books. 

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As someone who taught elementary school for five years, let me say with no uncertainty that Harry Potter is still very much in the conscious of kids when it comes to reading, and I mostly worked with underprivileged Hispanic families. The movies offer a nice point of recognition and curiosity that puts it on the radar for them--if they were on Netflix or now Disney+ you could only imagine the explosion of readers that would result. 

 

Talking with the school librarian, who attended many larger conferences, she said as well that Harry Potter is still one of the most popular children's series in America.

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5 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

What else is there with close to the IP recognition of HP? Probably no other book series on the planet beats it in that department.

LotR - even if less people read it than HP, I'm confident to say nearly everybody knows about it.

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I loved it when I was younger. But you gotta say it isn't written in a contemporary style. It has a kinda academic mustiness to it. Not the story - but in the way it is written and the language.

 

Besides, reading fantasy is always going to be ephemeral. One day the kids will grow up and outgrow fantasy completely.

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The Harry Potter books are brilliant, I’m sure they’ll be part of kids pop culture for a while yet. 
 

Im always surprised by J.K’s Twitter statements because the books would seem to paint a lovely picture of her. 

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7 hours ago, Jules said:

Im always surprised by J.K’s Twitter statements because the books would seem to paint a lovely picture of her. 

 

So, what did we learned on today's episode, kids? Don't ever ruin your career by joining Twitter and making controversial statements/jokes/whatever! 

 

I do have a Twitter account, but I barely access it, and not for tweeting something. Gosh, I hate that site.

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23 hours ago, Gruesome Son of a Bitch said:

It seems to mainly appeal to 20 and 30-somethings now. It will live on as a household name and Universal Studios attractions, but I would agree it's obviously not popular now like it was in the 2000s.

I think it's legacy still endures: I can walk into any major bookstore over here and find an entire section dedicated to Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts, books and merchandise. It's still a phenomenon, but obviously not with the hype that was attached to it when the films came out.

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On 12/26/2019 at 6:01 AM, Þekþiþm said:

So I asked "what do they like now instead?" She struggled with answering that question and started babbling on about a heap of obscure internet TV shows that teenagers seem to like, but I had to keep interrupting her, saying "stop, I've never heard of any of these, I'm asking what is the present day IP equivalent to the pop culture phenomenon that Harry Potter was in the 2000s?"

 

Well, that’s the uniqueness of Harry Potter. There was a steady stream of preteen fantasy for decades before it, too. In the 80s there was Feist and Eddings and Dragonlance and so on, and different kids read different ones, but there was no one phenomenon like Harry Potter that everyone read. The trend simply continued post-Harry Potter, with Twilight and Percy Jackson and Eragon and whatever else—i.e., that there was plenty of new fantasy, just nothing that reached such critical mass.

 

I never really understood the special appeal of Harry Potter, because I wasn’t the right age for it (and I HAD devoured a crap-ton of fantasy which had all the same elements), and while I believe, based on the fervor of its fans, that it will have a longer shelf-life than any of the other stuff I mentioned, I do tend to think it “belongs” to a certain generation, just like Dragonlance and the rest. But, who knows? Middle-earth is immortal, so, maybe it will have company.

 

On 12/26/2019 at 6:01 AM, Þekþiþm said:

Oh and SW, surprisingly that's still popular, but only the new ones. She reckons if you showed them the older ones, they'd dismiss them as "lame". I said "so pretty much no appreciation for classic stories, huh?"

 

"Nope."

 

That doesn’t sound right. Sure, even when I was a kid in the 80s-90s, kids already reckoned the original movie was slow, but no-one ever doubted the coolness of Darth Vader or Han Solo. As for the new stuff, I wonder. I find it hard to believe anything has gained any serious traction other than maybe Rebels (the TV show)? There’s a whole “Reylo” scene, but is it really a huge mob? You don’t really see, like, toys or T-shirts or anything to do with anything other than the Original Trilogy.

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2 minutes ago, Pellaeon said:

That doesn’t sound right. Sure, even when I was a kid in the 80s-90s, kids already reckoned the original movie was slow, but no-one ever doubted the coolness of Darth Vader or Han Solo. As for the new stuff, I wonder. I find it hard to believe anything has gained any serious traction other than maybe Rebels (the TV show)? There’s a whole “Reylo” scene, but is it really a huge mob? You don’t really see, like, toys or T-shirts or anything to do with anything other than the Original Trilogy.

 

Interesting you say that because in Australia, we have a big chain hardware store called Bunnings, and every couple of years they put out SW licenced garden display statues. Really nice statues too. They encompass both OT and ST characters... and the OT characters always vanish real quick. You're shit out of luck if you waited and you wanted an R2, a Vader or a Yoda. Because they still have stacks of Reys, Kylo Rens and Imperial Guards.

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