The Harry Potter films have been officially named as the most successful movie franchise in history.

Box office figures show that as the fifth film in the series – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – continues to draw in cinemagoers worldwide and the franchise has now taken £2.2 billion at the box office.

This surpasses the £2.18 billion made by the 22 James Bond films and ticket sales from all six Star Wars movies.

"It would be an understatement to say we are proud of the success of the Harry Potter films," said the president of Warner Bros, which has produced all the Potter films, Alan Horn.

"We also want to congratulate all of the extraordinary actors, film-makers and artists who have shared this remarkable cinematic journey with us."

All five Harry Potter movies, starring Daniel Radcliffe as the eponymous boy wizard, have got slots in the list of the top 20 grossing films in history, while two more films are set to hit screens over the next three years.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is scheduled for release in November next year, while Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – the last film adaptation of Jk Rowling's lucrative book series – is expected in cinemas sometime in 2010, by which time Radcliffe will have turned 21.

"It is a thrill to see the Harry Potter franchise reach this unparalleled mark and, with two movies yet to come, it is amazing to think what heights the franchise could reach by the end of the decade," added Warner Bros distribution president in the US Dan Fellman.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has already taken more than £450 million at the worldwide box office.

But the Bond series may yet knock Potter off his broomstick if the success of the last film in the spy franchise is anything to go by.

Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig was the most successful film in the series' history, with the next Bond film expected in 2008.

11/09/2007 16:30:22