Harry Potter is a British-American namesakefilm series based on the eponymous novels by author J. K. Rowling. The series is distributed by Warner Bros.
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Harry Potter is a British-American namesakefilm series based on the eponymous novels by author J. K. Rowling. The series is distributed by Warner Bros. and consists of eight fantasy films, beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and culminating with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011). A spin-off prequel series that will consist of five films started with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them(2016), marking the beginning of the Wizarding World shared media franchise.
The series was mainly produced by David Heyman, and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson as the three leading characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Four directors worked on the series: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates. Michael Goldenberg wrote the screenplay for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), while the remaining films had their screenplays written by Steve Kloves. Production took place over ten years, with the main story arc following Harry Potter's quest to overcome his arch-enemy Lord Voldemort.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final novel in the series, was adapted into two feature-length parts. Part 1was released in November 2010, and Part 2was released in July 2011.
Five of the series' eight films are among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2the highest-grossing film in the series and one of 36 films to gross over $1 billion, ranking at number ten. Without inflation adjustment, it is the third highest-grossing film series with $7.7 billion in worldwide receipts.
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 positive review. Consequently, Heyman, who had originally disliked "the rubbish title", read the book himself. Highly impressed by Rowling's work, he began the process that led to one of the most successful cinematic franchises of all time.
Heyman's enthusiasm led to Rowling's 1999 sale of the film rights for the first four Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. for a reported £1 million (US$2,000,000). A demand Rowling made was that the principal cast be kept strictly British, allowing nevertheless for the inclusion of many Irish actors, such as 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. 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 Bros. to make non-author-written sequels.
Although Steven Spielberg initially negotiated to direct the first film, he declined the offer.Spielberg wanted the adaptation to be an animated film, with American actor Haley Joel Osment providing Harry Potter's voice.[not in citation given] Spielberg contended that, in his opinion, there was every expectation of profit in making the film. He claims 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". In the "Rubbish Bin" section of her website, Rowling maintains that she had 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 Quillserviced."
After Spielberg left, conversations began with other directors, including Chris Columbus, Jonathan Demme, Terry Gilliam, Mike Newell, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, and Peter Weir. Petersen and Reiner both pulled out of the running in March 2000. It was then narrowed down to Columbus, Gilliam, Parker, and Silberling. Rowling's first choice was Terry Gilliam. 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.
Steve Kloves was selected to write the screenplay for the first film. He described adapting the book as "tough" since 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, becoming an instant fan. When speaking to Warner Bros. he stated that the film had to be British and true to the characters. David Heyman was confirmed to produce the film. Rowling received a large amount of creative control for the film, an arrangement that Columbus did not mind.
Warner Bros. 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 withdrawn themselves from contention. Eventually, due to time constraints, the date was put back to 16 November 2001.
Casting the roles of Harry, Ron, and Hermione
In 2000, after a seven-month search, lead actor Daniel Radcliffe was discovered by producer David Heyman and writer Steve Kloves seated just behind them in a theatre. 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. Heyman persuaded Radcliffe's parents to allow him to audition for the part of Harry Potter, which involved Radcliffe being filmed. (This screen test footage was released via the first set of Ultimate Editions in 2009.) 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.
Also in 2000, the then 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. Their only previous acting experience was in school plays. Grint was eleven years old and Watson ten at the time they were cast.
Los Angeles 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."
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter is an orphaned boy brought up by his unkind Muggle (non-magical) aunt and uncle. At the age of eleven, half-giant Rubeus Hagrid informs him that he is actually a wizard and that his parents were murdered by an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort. Voldemort also attempted to kill one-year-old Harry on the same night, but his killing curse mysteriously rebounded and reduced him to a weak and helpless form. Harry became extremely famous in the Wizarding World as a result. Harry begins his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and learns about magic. During the year, Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Grangerbecome 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 also 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 Blackescapes from 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)
During Harry's fourth year, Hogwarts plays host to a legendary event: the Triwizard Tournament. 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 thus making him a fourth champion, which results in a terrifying encounter with a reborn Lord Voldemort.
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 Lord Voldemort's return. 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. Harry becomes aware that Voldemort is after a prophecy which reveals: "neither can live while the other survives". 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, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters are increasing their terror upon the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore persuades his old friend Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts as a professor as there is a vacancy to fill. There is a more important reason, however, for Slughorn's return. While in a Potions lesson, Harry takes possession of a strangely annotated school textbook, inscribed 'This is the property of the Half-Blood Prince'. Draco Malfoy struggles to carry out a deed presented to him by Voldemort. Meanwhile, Dumbledore and Harry secretly work together to discover the method on how to destroy the Dark Lord once and for all.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)
After unexpected events at the end of the previous year, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are entrusted with a quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's secret to immortality – the Horcruxes. It is supposed to be their final year at Hogwarts, but the collapse of the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort's rise to power prevents them from attending. The trio undergo a long journey with many obstacles in their path including Death Eaters, Snatchers, the mysterious Deathly Hallows, and Harry's connection with the Dark Lord's mind becoming ever stronger.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
After destroying one Horcrux and discovering the significance of the three Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione continue to seek the other Horcruxes in an attempt to destroy Voldemort, who has now obtained the powerful Elder Wand. The Dark Lord discovers Harry's hunt for Horcruxes and launches an attack on Hogwarts School, where the trio return for one last stand against the dark forces that threaten the Wizarding and Muggle worlds.
The rights for the first four novels in the series were sold to Warner Bros. for £1,000,000 by J.K. Rowling. After the release of the fourth book in July 2000, the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was released on 16 November 2001. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $90 million in the United States alone, which set a record opening worldwide. The succeeding three motion picture adaptations followed suit in financial success, while garnering positive reviews from fans and critics. 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. The sixth, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released on 15 July 2009 to critical acclaim and finished its theatrical run ranked as the number two grossing film of 2009 on the worldwide charts.
The final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was split into two cinematic parts: Part 1 was released on 19 November 2010, and Part 2, the conclusion to both the final film and the series, was released on 15 July 2011. Part 1 was originally scheduled to be released in 3D and 2D, but due to a delay in the 3D conversion process, Warner Bros. released the film only in 2D and IMAX cinemas. However, Part 2 was released in 2D and 3D cinemas as originally planned.
The television broadcast rights for the series in the United States are currently held by NBCUniversal, which typically airs the films on USA Network and Syfy. The film series has accrued nearly 1.3 billion viewings since its television debut—the highest-watched franchise in television broadcast history.