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Harry Potter film series

2009 DVD Box Set for the first 6 films
Directed by Chris Columbus
(Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets),
Alfonso Cuarón
(Prisoner of Azkaban),
Mike Newell
(Goblet of Fire),
David Yates
(Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows)
Produced by David Heyman (all),
Chris Columbus (POA),
Mark Radcliffe (POA),
David Barron
(GOF, OOTP, HBP, DH)
Written by Steve Kloves,
(PS, COS, POA, GOF, HBP, DH),
Michael Goldenberg (OOTP),
J. K. Rowling (Novels)
Starring Daniel Radcliffe,
Rupert Grint,
Emma Watson,
Robbie Coltrane,
Tom Felton,
Ralph Fiennes,
Michael Gambon,
Richard Harris,
Gary Oldman,
Alan Rickman,
Maggie Smith
Music by John Williams
(PS, COS, POA),
Patrick Doyle
(GOF),
Nicholas Hooper
(OOTP, HBP),
Alexandre Desplat
(DH Part I)[1]
Studio Heyday Films
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) 2001 – 2011
Running time 903 minutes (total)
Country United Kingdom,
United States
Language English
Budget $905 million
Gross revenue $5,412,504,276

The Harry Potter fantasy-adventure film series is based on the seven Harry Potter novels by British writer J. K. Rowling, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

The Harry Potter film franchise is the highest grossing film series of all time when not adjusted for inflation, with over $5.4 billion in worldwide receipts. As of 2009 the series consists of six motion pictures, all of which (unadjusted for inflation) are on the all time list of 25 highest-grossing films worldwide, with the first, fifth and sixth films among the top ten.[2] The latest installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released in cinemas worldwide on 15 July 2009.[3]

Warner Bros. is currently producing its adaptation of the seventh and final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [4] which will be split into two parts: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I is due out on 19 November 2010 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II is due out on 15 July 2011. [5] In an interview, producer David Heyman has stated that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is being treated as one film, but released as two parts.[6] Both parts will be released in 3D and 2D on their individual release dates. [7]

Contents

Origins

Late in 1997, film producer David Heyman's London offices received a copy of the first book in what would become Rowling's series of seven Harry Potter novels. The book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was relegated to a low-priority bookshelf, where it was discovered by a secretary who read it and gave it to Heyman with a glowing review. This fateful act led Heyman, who disliked "the rubbish title", to read the book. Highly impressed by Rowling's work, he arranged the process that was to lead to one of the most successful franchises in movie history.[8]

This led to Rowling's 1999 sale of the film rights for the first four Harry Potter books to Warner Brothers for a reported £1 million (US$2,000,000).[9] A demand Rowling made was that the principal cast be kept strictly British, allowing nevertheless for the inclusion of many Irish actors such as the late Richard Harris as Dumbledore, and for casting of French and Eastern European actors in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where characters from the book are specified as such.[10] Rowling was hesitant to sell the rights because she "didn't want to give them control over the rest of the story" by selling the rights to the characters, which would have enabled Warner Brothers to make non-author-written sequels.[11]

Although Steven Spielberg initially negotiated to direct the first film, he declined the offer.[12] Spielberg wanted the adaptation to be an animated film, with American actor Haley Joel Osment to provide Harry Potter's voice.[13] Spielberg contended that, in his opinion, there was every expectation of profit in making the film, and that making money would have been like "shooting ducks in a barrel. It's just a slam dunk. It's just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There's no challenge".[14] In the Rubbish Bin section of her website, Rowling maintains that she has no role in choosing directors for the films, writing "Anyone who thinks I could (or would) have 'veto-ed' him [Spielberg] needs their Quick-Quotes Quill serviced."[15] After Spielberg left, talks began with other directors, including: Chris Columbus, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, Mike Newell, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, and Peter Weir.[16] Petersen and Reiner then both pulled out of the running in March 2000.[17] It was then narrowed down to Silberling, Columbus, Parker and Gilliam.[18] Rowling's first choice was Terry Gilliam.[19] However on 28 March 2000 Columbus was appointed as director of the film, with Warner Bros. citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone and Mrs Doubtfire as influences for their decision.[20]

"Harry Potter is the kind of timeless literary achievement that comes around once in a lifetime. Since the books have generated such a passionate following across the world, it was important to us to find a director that has an affinity for both children and magic. I can't think of anyone more ideally suited for this job than Chris."

Lorenzo di Bonaventura[20]

Steve Kloves was selected to write the screenplay for the first film. He described adapting the book as "tough", as it did not "lend itself to adaptation as well as the next two books." Kloves was sent a "raft" of synopses of books proposed as film adaptations, with Harry Potter being the only one that jumped out at him. He went out and bought the book, and became an instant fan. When speaking to Warner Bros. he stated that the film had to be British, and had to be true to the characters.[21] David Heyman was selected to produce the film.[20] Rowling received a large amount of creative control for the film, being made an executive producer, an arrangement that Columbus did not mind.[22]

Warner Brothers had initially planned to release the first film over the 4 July 2001 weekend, making for such a short production window that several of the originally proposed directors had pulled themselves out of the running. Eventually, due to time constraints the date was put back to 16 November 2001.[23]

Casting the roles of Harry, Ron and Hermione

In 2000, after a seven month search, lead actor Daniel Radcliffe was discovered by Heyman and Kloves seated just behind them in a theater. In Heyman's own words, "There sitting behind me was this boy with these big blue eyes. It was Dan Radcliffe. I remember my first impressions: He was curious and funny and so energetic. There was real generosity too, and sweetness. But at the same time he was really voracious and with hunger for knowledge of whatever kind."

Radcliffe had already established himself as an actor in the 1999 BBC television production of David Copperfield in which he played the title role's childhood years, and Heyman convinced the youngster's parents to allow him to audition for the part of Harry Potter, which involved Radcliffe being filmed. (Heyman has stated in an interview published July 21, 2009 in the Los Angeles Times that this historic screen test of Radcliffe will be released as bonus material on a subsequent Harry Potter DVD.) Rowling was enthusiastic after viewing Radcliffe's filmed test, saying she didn't think there was a better choice for the part of Harry Potter.[8][24]

Also in 2000, the unknown British actors Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were selected from thousands of auditioning children to play the roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively. Prior to their being chosen, their only previous acting experience was in school plays. Grint was eleven years old and Watson ten at the time they were cast.[25]

L.A. Times writer Geoff Boucher, who conducted the above-mentioned interview with Heyman, added that the casting of the three major roles "is especially impressive in hindsight. The trio's selection was arguably one of the best show-business decisions over the past decade... they have shown admirable grace and steadiness in the face of teen superstardom."[8][24]

Production

Chris Columbus directed the first two films, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, while Alfonso Cuarón directed the third, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Mike Newell directed the fourth, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The fifth, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was directed by David Yates, as was the sixth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and he is currently directing both parts of the seventh, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,[5][26] as well. Columbus was the producer on the first three films.

Rowling's first choice for director was originally Terry Gilliam, but Columbus's involvement as screenwriter on the 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes encouraged Warner Bros. to select him in preference. It is similar to the Harry Potter series in that it includes three leads that bear a strong resemblance to the Harry, Ron and Hermione of Rowling's description (as does a character named Dudley to Draco Malfoy). They investigate a supernatural mystery in a Gothic boarding school, where staff include the Professor Flitwick-like Waxflatter, and sinister Rathe. Scenes from the film were used to cast the first Harry Potter film.[27]

Aside from the three lead actors, the other notable Potter character portrayals include Robbie Coltrane's Hagrid, Alan Rickman's Severus Snape, Tom Felton's Draco Malfoy, Maggie Smith's Minerva McGonagall, and Richard Harris and Michael Gambon's Albus Dumbledore (Gambon took over for the third film following Harris's death in 2002). Notable recurring cast members in the series include Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, and Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort.

The first four films were scripted by Steve Kloves with the direct assistance of Rowling, though she allowed Kloves what he described as "tremendous elbow room". Thus, the plot and tone of each film and its corresponding book are virtually the same with some changes and omissions for purposes of cinematic style and time constraints. Rowling has asked Kloves to keep being faithful to the books.[28]

The fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released by Warner Bros. on 11 July 2007, in English-speaking countries, except for the UK and Ireland which released the movie on 12 July.[29] The sixth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was the most expensive of the films to produce and most critically acclaimed. It was released on 15 July 2009 and is currently ranked as the number two film of 2009 on the worldwide charts.

Production of the two Deathly Hallows films is currently underway. As of late July, 2009, the shoot had passed Day 100 of a projected 250 day total needed to complete filming of both parts of the final book in the series.[8]

Soundtracks

There have been four film soundtrack composers to date. John Williams started the franchise's score off by producing one of the world's most popular film soundtracks. Williams' Hedwig's Theme is the main theme in the Harry Potter series and is heard at the start of each installment. It has been kept constant throughout the movie franchise; however, it has been slightly changed throughout the years due to different composers, but the main structure of the music has been kept the same.

Williams composed the soundtracks for the first three films, Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. He has introduced various themes throughout these films, some of which have been kept constant in the later adaptations in the series.

Other composers that have contributed are Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper. Doyle produced the soundtrack for the fourth movie, Goblet of Fire and Hooper composed scores for Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. Both have introduced their own personal themes, while keeping a selection from John Williams respectively. In January 2010, composer Alexandre Desplat was confirmed to produce the score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. [30]

Plot

The Hogwarts Express on the railway.
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

Harry Potter is a boy wizard who was brought up by his hostile aunt and uncle after his parents were murdered by the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. Voldemort also attempted to kill one-year old Harry on the same night, but failed. Nearly ten years later, Harry learns that he is an extremely famous wizard because of his uncanny survival and ventures into the Wizarding World assisted by half-giant Rubeus Hagrid. There he begins his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he learns about magic along with new friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who become entangled in the mystery of the Philosopher's Stone, which is being kept within the school.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts for their second year, which proves to be more challenging than the last. The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, leaving students and ghosts petrified by an unleashed monster. Harry must face up to claims that he is the heir of Salazar Slytherin (founder of the Chamber), learn that he can speak Parseltongue, and discover the properties of a mysterious diary, only to find himself trapped within the Chamber of Secrets itself.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter's third year sees the boy wizard, along with his friends, attending Hogwarts School once again. Professor R.J. Lupin joins the staff as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, while convicted murderer Sirius Black escapes Azkaban Prison. The Ministry of Magic entrusts the Dementors of Azkaban to guard Hogwarts from Black. Harry learns more about his past and his connection with the escaped prisoner.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

The Hall of Christ Church in Oxford, England, the film location for the main hall of Hogwarts.

During Harry's fourth year, the Dark Mark appears in the sky after a Death Eater attack at the Quidditch World Cup, Hogwarts plays host to a legendary event: the Triwizard Tournament, there is a new DADA professor Alastor Moody and frequent nightmares bother Harry all year. Three European schools participate in the tournament, with three 'champions' representing each school in the deadly tasks. The Goblet of Fire chooses Fleur Delacour, Viktor Krum and Cedric Diggory to compete against each other. However, curiously, Harry's name is also produced from the Goblet making him a fourth champion, which results in a terrifying outcome.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Harry's fifth year begins with him being attacked by Dementors in Little Whinging. Later, he finds out that the Ministry of Magic is in denial of the fact that Lord Voldemort has returned. Harry is also beset by disturbing and realistic nightmares while Professor Umbridge, a representative of Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Therefore the rebellion involving the students of Hogwarts, secret organisation Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic and the Death Eaters begins.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

In Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters are increasingly terrorising the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore persuades his old friend and colleague Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts as a professor, because there is a vacancy to fill - but there is a more important reason for Slughorn's return. While in a Potions lesson, Harry Potter takes possession of a strangely annotated school textbook, inscribed 'This is the property of the Half-Blood Prince', which contains astonishing information. Meanwhile Dumbledore and Harry secretly work together to discover the method on how to destroy Voldemort once and for all. However, Hogwarts becomes under threat from loyalties and dangers along with romance and hormones, which lurk within the castle's walls all year.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Tentative Release 2010 and 2011)

After unexpected events at the end of the previous year, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are entrusted with a quest to find and destroy all of Lord Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. It is meant to be Harry's final year at Hogwarts, but Voldemort's rise to power prevents him from attending. The trio undergo a long adventure to destroy Voldemort for the last time, with many obstacles in the way, such as the rampaging Death Eaters and Snatchers on the loose, Harry's obsession with the mysterious Deathly Hallows, as well as increasing pressure and chaos on the Wizarding World. The film will be split into two parts; the first part is due for release on 19 November 2010, the second part on 15 July 2011.

Cast

Reception

All the films in the series have been a tremendous financial success, making the franchise one of the major Hollywood tent-poles, akin to James Bond, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Terminator, Batman, Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Shrek, The Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

However, opinions of the films generally divide book fans right down the middle, with one group preferring the more faithful approach of the first two films, and another group preferring the more stylised character-driven approach of the later films.

Some feel the series has a "disjointed" feel due to the changes in directors, as well as Michael Gambon's interpretation of Dumbledore differing from that of Richard Harris's.

Chris Columbus's approach was extremely faithful to the source material, recreating the book as much as possible. A criticism is that his two films contain much action but little emotion, undeveloped characters, and an abundance of expository dialogue. Such a strict recreation of the book also results in a slow pace, and consequently, the films are accused of being too long.

Alfonso Cuarón's approach was more stylised and lively, using many handheld long takes and dark uses of colour. Unlike Columbus, his dislike of expository dialogue or explanation of back story (most notably the Marauder's story) led to criticisms of his approach being "style over substance". His re-imagining of Hogwarts and student attire caused some to feel the continuity of the series had been hurt, though some find it to be closer to the descriptions in the novels. Furthermore, his quick fire pacing led to a shorter film, leading some to call Cuarón "lazy". However, the film is often perceived by fans and critics to be the best in the series.[31]

Mike Newell's approach focused more on humour and character development. Newell delved more into interactions between the students and their relationships, creating the feeling of a British boarding school. A criticism is that Newell left in moments of slapstick, childish humour (such as Madame Maxime eating Hagrid's beard) in favour of the book's subplots, resulting in a rushed, disjointed film.

David Yates took his first Harry Potter movie, Order of the Phoenix in an entirely different direction. He focused more on the tone of the book, ensuring that the film was as dark as its counterpart. This has led to criticisms that the movie is missing the delight and "magic" that previous installments had. However, it is unclear whether these "problems" should be attributed to Michael Goldenberg (the screenwriter, taking over for Steve Kloves) or rather to Yates himself. On the other hand, some have seen his direction as an improvement; comparable to Cuarón's dark style.

Yates also directed the sixth film, Half-Blood Prince, which some say is the best movie of 2009 and the funniest of the Potter films. He chose to place an obvious contrast on the film, keeping the theme of the book. Yates decided to go along with the element of humour in this film, as well as blending in the darker features. Audiences have critically reviewed this film as having too much humour and romance and not enough dark material. Fans have also expressed that many scenes were omitted and some new scenes were added - however, movie critics and many fans too, have stated that the flow of the movie is exceptionally good and that the removal and adding of scenes was acceptable for cinematic purposes. The mixture of light and dark factors also contributed to the film's success. Many have said that the sixth film is a huge improvement from the previous installment. Others have also compared this film to Alfonso Cuaron's Prisoner of Azkaban, stating that it is a possible contender for the best Potter flick.[32]

Rowling has been constantly supportive of the films,[33][34][35] and evaluated Order of the Phoenix as "the best one yet" in the series.[36] She wrote on her web site of the changes in the book-to-film transition, "It is simply impossible to incorporate every one of my storylines into a film that has to be kept under four hours long. Obviously films have restrictions - novels do not have constraints of time and budget; I can create dazzling effects relying on nothing but the interaction of my own and my readers' imaginations".[37]

Box office

As of November 2009, the Harry Potter film franchise is the highest grossing film franchise of all time, with the six films released so far grossing $5.4 billion worldwide. Without adjusting for inflation, this is higher than the 22 James Bond films and the six films in the Star Wars franchise.[38]

List indicator(s)

  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).
Film Release date Revenue Rank Budget Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 16 November 2001 (2001-11-16) $317,575,550 $657,158,000 $974,733,550 #23
#67(A)
#6 $125,000,000 [39][40]
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 15 November 2002 (2002-11-15) $261,988,482 $616,655,000 $878,643,482 #43
#114(A)
#16 $100,000,000 [41][42]
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 4 June 2004 (2004-06-04) $249,541,069 $546,093,000 $795,634,069 #53
#147(A)
#24 $130,000,000 [43]
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 18 November 2005 (2005-11-18) $290,013,036 $605,908,000 $895,921,036 #37
#111(A)
#13 $150,000,000 [44][45]
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 11 July 2007 (2007-07-11) $292,004,738 $646,208,000 $938,468,864 #34
#130(A)
#8 $150,000,000 [46][47]
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 15 July 2009 (2009-07-15) $301,959,197 $627,400,204 $929,359,401 #31
#135(A)
#9 $250,000,000 [48][49]
Total $1,713,074,705 $3,699,422,204 $5,412,504,276 $905,000,000

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Yahoo! Movies
Overall Top Critics
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 78% (182 reviews)[50] 74% (39 reviews)[51] 64 (35 reviews)[52] B (12 reviews)[53]
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 82% (198 reviews)[54] 70% (37 reviews)[55] 63 (35 reviews)[56] B (14 reviews)[57]
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 89% (225 reviews)[58] 90% (40 reviews)[59] 81 (40 reviews)[60] B+ (15 reviews)[61]
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 88% (214 reviews)[62] 89% (35 reviews)[63] 81 (38 reviews)[64] B+ (15 reviews)[65]
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 77% (230 reviews)[66] 69% (39 reviews)[67] 71 (37 reviews)[68] B (14 reviews)[69]
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 83% (244 reviews)[70] 87% (38 reviews)[71] 78 (36 reviews)[72] B+ (14 reviews)[73]

References

  1. ^ Confirmed - Desplat DH P1
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  6. ^ Richards, Olly (14 March 2008). "Potter Producer Talks Deathly Hallows". Empire. http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=22200. Retrieved 14 March 2008. 
  7. ^ DH Part I and II in 3D and 2D
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  29. ^ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) - Release dates
  30. ^ CONFIRMED - Desplat for DH
  31. ^ Total Film: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Film Review -- July 2007
  32. ^ HBP Reviews and Information
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External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Harry Potter films are a series of film adaptations of the books of the same title.

List of Films

Harry Potter
Film series
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone book film
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book film
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban book film
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book film
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix book film
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book film
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book

This is a disambiguation page; that is, one that points to other pages that might otherwise have the same name. If you followed a link here, you might want to go back and fix that link to point to the appropriate specific page.


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