Since the release of the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, on 26 June 1997, the books have found immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide. The series has now been translated into multiple languages including French, Irish, Spanish, German and Swedish to name a few. They have attracted a wide adult audience as well as younger readers, and are often considered cornerstones of modern young adult literatureThe series has also had its share of criticism, including concern about the increasingly dark tone as the series progressed, as well as the often gruesome and graphic violence it depicts. As of May 2013, the books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have been translated into seventy-three languages. The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, with the final instalment selling roughly eleven million copies in the United States within twenty-four hours of its release.
The series was originally published in English by two major publishers, Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom and Scholastic Press in the United States. A play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, based on a story by Rowling, premiered in London on 30 July 2016 at the Palace Theatre, and its script was published by Little, Brown as the eighth book in the series. The original seven books were adapted into an eight-part film series by Warner Bros. Pictures, which has become the second highest-grossing film series of all time as of August 2015. In 2016, the total value of the Harry Potter franchise was estimated at $25 billion, making Harry Potter one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.