• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe

Summit Entertainment; Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros. Entertainment

I'm so sick of everyone saying Twilight is better than Harry Potter or Harry Potter is better than Twilight. Which one is seriously the best?
—Ariel, via the A.B. inbox

I have an answer. A definitive, once-and-for-all, never-ever-seriously-ever-to-be-questioned answer. Not just an opinion, but a scientific, quantifiable, fact-based answer to the question: Which is better, Twilight or Harry Potter?

And here it is:

Let's break this down into areas of dominance. And let's also start with some numbers, because, as we know, numbers cannot lie.

Movies—The Critics
Advantage: Harry Potter

Without a doubt, critical reception for the Harry Potter franchise—both books and films—has been much kinder compared with Twilight.

If you look at Rotten Tomatoes, for example, which aggregates movie reviews, you'll see that every single Potter film has gotten generally "fresh," or positive, feedback. No film has garnered less than 77 percent; the highest aggregation is for Prisoner of Azkaban, which earned a very fresh 89 percent.

Not so the two Twilight films we have so far, which have both been condemned as quite rotten. Numbers. Science.

Movies—The Box Office 
Advantage: Harry Potter

Analyzing that may not seem entirely fair. After all, we have only two Twi films—with the third opening this week—and five Potters.

But on average, the Harry Potter films do have an edge when it comes to revenue. Twilight grossed about $400 million around the world. In their sophomore story, New Moon, the people of Forks have grossed roughly $700 million. That's real nice, until you see that the Harry Potter films are, on average, hovering closer to $1 billion.

That's a lot of gold over at Gringott's.

The Books
Advantage: Harry Potter

As for the books, well, let's single out one Potter book as an example. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has received no reader reviews below four stars on Amazon. Zero. None.

But Twilight has garnered plenty of negative reviews from readers and critics alike. The reason? I have my own theories (including an insipid doormat of a heroine and writing that falls somewhere between a junior high school problem solving bowl and Twitter) but that's neither here nor there.

Sales are no less telling. Per Wikipedia, the Harry Potter series has outsold the Twilight series by something like 4 to 1. That's 400 million copies vs. an estimated 100 million, that is. Yes, the Potter series has more books, but still, it's a very big margin.

Theme Parks
Advantage: Harry Potter

Does Twilight have a theme park? No. No it does not.

The Stars
Advantage: Twilight

Certainly we'd be remiss if we ignored the popularity of the actors in each franchise, and the characters they play. Kristen Stewart continues to hold the No. 1 position on the IMDB Starmeter, vs. the easily-just-as-talented but less-high-profile threesome over at Hogwarts.

And even though Robert Pattinson showed up in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before his pale and sparkly days, Twilight has made him an undeniable and unrivaled 21st century heartthrob. No two ways around that.

To my knowledge, also, there really isn't much of a market in Team Harry vs. Team Draco T-shirts.

The Verdict
Harry Potter is better.

Our cousins over at Fandango ran a poll on this very topic, too. The question: Which series had the more lasting impact on pop culture, Twilight or Harry PotterPotter beat out Twilight—by a ratio of about 60 to 40.

Which backs up my numbers, too. The critics, the book sales, the box office, it all points in one direction.

So, which franchise is better? Looks like it's pretty clear who deserves the Quidditch Cup.