Beginning in 2001, Warner Bros. Pictures began releasing adaptations of the Harry Potter books. These films have proven to be very popular and, in less than a decade, the Harry Potter film series has become the highest-grossing motion picture series in history, surpassing the world-famous James Bond franchise.
In 1997, David Heyman received a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. He put it on the low priority shelf, thinking the title was "rubbish". However, when a secretary found and read it, she gave it to Heyman with a positive review and he then read it. Heyman was very impressed by Rowling's work, which led to Rowling selling him the film rights for four books in 1999.
Rowling had a few demands. She wanted the principal cast to be played by British actors, but allowed Irish actors, unless the role required otherwise. She also wanted a part in helping them adapt the books, and refused to give the rights of her characters to Warner Bros which would let them make non-author written sequels.
In March 2000, Chris Columbus was selected to direct the first film, while Steve Kloves wrote the screenplay. Rowling was given a large creative role which Columbus was fine with, while Heyman stayed to produce it.
They then started to cast the roles of Harry, Ron and Hermione. A seven month search led them to Daniel Radcliffe when Heyman and Kloves attended the theatre at the same time he did. Heyman persuaded his parents to let him audition and Rowling was very impressed, saying she didn't think there would be a better choice.
Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were selected from thousands of children who auditioned for the role of Hermione and Ron. The casting of the three is thought to be highly impressive, and one of "the best show decisions" ever made.
Production began in September 2000 and would keep going until the final film in December 2010. Every film was made primarily at Leavesden Studios, which is now open for the public to explore. Heyman produced every film with his production company Heyday Films, while Kloves wrote for every film except 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was written by Michael Goldenberg.
While the sixth film was the most expensive to film, it was decided that the seventh book would be spilt in two, despite being shot as one film.
There were four directors across every film, with Chris Columbus directing the first and second film, and Alfonso Cuarón directing the third. Mike Newell directed the fourth with David Yates staying the longest, as he directed the last four films. Columbus did stay to produce the third film with Heyman, and David Barron produced the last four with Heyman. Rowling joined the team for the final two films.
Every director had their own vision of the series but acknowledged that they should get darker as time went by. Columbus wanted to portray a "golden storybook" image. Cuarón changed the visual tone and expanded Hogwarts. Newell wanted a "paranoid thriller" and Yates a sense of "jeopardy and character to the world".
They worked together, with the last director sitting with the next one and talking through what they had done, and where they both wanted it to go. Every director wanted a sense of balance that matched the world Columbus started, and the others had expanded upon.
Kloves and Goldenberg had direct help from J.K. Rowling, although she gave them great space to have their own ideas. Rowling wanted them to stay true to the books, and save for a few changes, the plot and tone of each film remained the same as the books. Heyman said Rowling was the "best support" and that she understood some things had to be changed.
Stuart Craig was production designer for every film, helped by Stephenie McMillan. Hogwarts was originally a miniature which expanded and developed into a digital model. When production of the films ended, a lot of the sets were rebuilt and transported for display at Leavesden.
There were six directors of photography, with Bruno Delbonnel gaining the only Academy Award nomination the Harry Potter films received, for Best Cinematography.
John Williams was the first composer to work on the films, and is best known for creating the iconic Hedwig's Theme. When Williams left to pursure other projects, Patrick Doyle created the soundtrack for the fourth film. Nicholas Hooper made soundtrack for the fifth film, while Alexandre Desplat made the final two, although they kept a few of Williams. They were made at Abbey Road Studios with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Thirteen actors (excluding doubles) appear in all eight films. They are:
- Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter (as well as Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Fred Weasley, George Weasley, Fleur Delacour and Mundungus Fletcher under the effects of Polyjuice Potion);
- Rupert Grint as Ronald Weasley;
- Emma Watson as Hermione Granger;
- Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid;
- Alan Rickman as Severus Snape;
- Geraldine Somerville as Lily Evans;
- Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley;
- Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom;
- Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy;
- James Phelps as Fred Weasley;
- Oliver Phelps as George Weasley;
- Devon Murray as Seamus Finnigan;
- Warwick Davis as Griphook in Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and Filius Flitwick in the rest.
Furthermore, as Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Deathly Hallows: Part 2 were filmed as one film, the following four actors were also present for the filming of all eight films (despite not appearing in Part 1):
- Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall;
- David Bradley as Argus Filch;
- Josh Herdman as Gregory Goyle (as well as Harry Potter under the effects of Polyjuice Potion);
- Alfie Enoch as Dean Thomas.
Additionally, the following two characters appear in all eight films, but were not portrayed by the same actor in each one:
- Albus Dumbledore, portrayed by Richard Harris in the first two films, and Michael Gambon from the third onwards (as well as by Toby Regbo as a teenager);
- Peter Pettigrew, portrayed by Dex in the first three films (in the form of Scabbers the Rat), and Timothy Spall from the third onwards.
Besides their record-breaking popularity, the Harry Potter film series, is significant in several areas:
- The close involvement of its author, J. K. Rowling, in many aspects of production, including story consultation and casting.
- The fact that, with the exception of Albus Dumbledore, whose actor needed to be recast due to the death of the original, all major ongoing characters will have been played by the same actors for the entire series. A few supporting players have been recast over the years, however.
- The conclusion of the series marks the first time a book series of this length, involving an ongoing story arc, has been adapted for film in its entirety, and without profound changes being made to the original storyline.
- The book series and film series were released over a ten year period. The Philosopher's Stone was first published in the UK in 1997, with the final book The Deathly Hallows published in 2007. Likewise the first film was released in 2001 and the series concluded in 2011 with the eighth and final film.
- Each film in the series has been released to critical and financial success worldwide.
The Harry Potter logo design is based on the typeface used for the American editions of the books. In the first two films, directed by Chris Columbus, it was golden, however Alfonso Cuaron, the director of Prisoner of Azkaban changed the logo's colour to silver to reflect the film's darker atmosphere. This was used in later films as well.
In every film but Philosopher's Stone and Prisoner of Azkaban, the Harry Potter logo appears slowly floating from background to foreground, usually through a sea of clouds. In the other two films, the logo flies in from the foreground, stops as it is illuminated, then flies back into the foreground.
From Chamber of Secrets onward, the title sequence begins with the Warner Bros. logo fading in and slowly drifting in from the background through a sea of clouds.
In Philosopher’s Stone, the background is a generic patch of stormy clouds, and the logo is metallic gold. This is the first instance in which the title is not accompanied by Hedwig's Theme. Instead, the theme is played with the Warner Bros. Pictures logo, which is not shown as part of the title sequence.
Chamber of Secrets
In Chamber of Secrets, the background is the sky above Privet Drive at sunset. Chamber of Secrets is the only film to depict the Warner Bros. Pictures logo in its original colour scheme. Because of the blue background of the logo, it is animated to turn on its "back" so the camera does not "go through" it. In every subsequent film, the blue background is omitted, and the camera passes between the letters of the logo.
Prisoner of Azkaban
Prisoner of Azkaban is the only film to date that does not depict either the WB or Harry Potter logo against a sea of clouds. They are instead set floating in front of 4 Privet Drive, illuminated by wand light. Another noticeable difference is that the letters of the Harry Potter logo float around haphazardly. Different from the first two films, and continuing on in the next, the logo is coloured silver.
Goblet of Fire
In Goblet of Fire, the logo appears in the sky directly above Tom Riddle Snr's grave. Also, the subtitle materialises with a blue flame effect.
Order of the Phoenix
In Order of the Phoenix, the logo drifts through what appears to be blue smoke or fog instead of actual clouds. This logo is grey and stone-textured instead of metallic, a trend that continues in the following films. Order of the Phoenix is also the first film to use a new font for the subtitle, something that also carries over to the newer films. The background is generic, but dissolves into a sunny sky over Little Whinging .
Half-Blood PrinceIn Half-Blood Prince, the clouds are grey, with lightning streaking through them. The WB and Harry Potter logos are intercut by a short scene showing the aftermath of "Duel in the Ministry Atrium" from Order of the Phoenix. After the Harry Potter logo appears, the background dissolves to an identical stormy sky reflected in the Swiss Re Tower. Half-Blood Prince is the first film to use the new Harry Potter logo with the re-designed letter P (see below). This new logo continues to be in use in subsequent films.
Deathly Hallows: Part 1
In Deathly Hallows: Part 1, The WB logo is accompanied by the screeching sound RAB's locket makes. As it passes into the foreground, the metal rusts and deteriorates. Breaking the series' tradition, a full scene - including a monologue by Rufus Scrimgeour and a montage featuring the three protagonists - separates the title sequence into parts. The Harry Potter logo then appears, floating through the monochromatic clouds above Malfoy Manor. This is the second instance in which the Harry Potter logo is not accompanied by "Hedwig's Theme" (which again plays with the WB logo). Instead, a new theme is used, "Snape to Malfoy Manor", which segues into the next scene.
Deathly Hallows: Part 2
In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The logo sequence is more different than the 7 previous films where it shows the final scene of Part 1 in which Voldemort has the elder wand and tests to the clouds and then the scene flashes over to the WB logo where it is surrounded by dark clouds and as it passes, we then see the Hogwarts castle no longer colourful but affected by Dementors. We see Hogwarts students marching and Snape standing with a sad face in regards to what he has done to Hogwarts. Then we see the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 logo floating through the clouds and followed by a shot of Dobby's grave.
In other media
In promotional materials, such as film posters and merchandise, and on DVD/Blu-ray covers, the Harry Potter logo appears differently than it's film counterpart.
For Philosopher’s Stone, the lettering has a different bevel effect and texture from any other instance of the logo. It also has a white glow effect around it.
Chamber of Secrets
For Chamber of Secrets, the logo has either a blue or green glow around it.
Prisoner of Azkaban
For Prisoner of Azkaban, the glow effect is dropped. While subtle, the logo was redesigned for Azkaban. The letter P was elongated and given a different, pointed serif. Also, the film started the trend of colouring the logo in various shades of silver instead of gold (however, it is coloured bronze in some instances).Since the tone of the film transitioned from Light to dark.
Goblet of Fire
For Goblet of Fire and every subsequent release, the logo appears as shiny and metallic in all non-film appearances. It is depicted as either made of stone or rusting metal in the films’ title sequences.
Order of The Phoenix
Order of the Phoenix is notable for changing the font used for the subtitles, a change reflected in the film as well. However in the title sequence for the film, the title uses the old 'P' in 'Potter' as used in the first two films. Order of the Phoenix is also the first to depict the logo as weathered and scratched. The old subtitle font is still used in other promotional materials besides the logo.
In many advertisements, posters, and DVD/Blu-ray covers for Half-Blood Prince, the Harry Potter logo is shown tilted at an angle and cut off at either end. Some posters also depict the logo with a bluish sheen. This film is also the first to abbreviate the film title to "HP6", which was again done for the seventh film.
Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Compared to the film version - which is strictly dark grey - the logo appears in varying shades, from black to light grey in promotional items, DVD/Blu-ray covers, and the soundtrack. On some posters, it has a noticeable red tinge. For the video game and other promotional materials, the logo has a blue hue.
Also, earlier instances of the logo kept the same font for the subtitle as previous films. The final version of the logo has the parts of the letters lengthened or shortened.
Harry Potter home Videos
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone||VHS||28 May 2002|
|Special Widescreen Edition|
|Blu-ray||11 Dec, 2007|
|Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets||VHS||11 April 2003|
|Blu-ray||11 Dec, 2007|
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||VHS||23 Nov, 2004|
|2-Disc Widescreen Edition|
|2-Disc Full-Screen Edition|
|HD DVD||11 Dec, 2007|
|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Two-Disc Special Edition||7 March 2006|
|HD DVD||11 Dec, 2007|
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Two-Disc Special Edition|
|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||Two-Disc Special Edition||8 Dec, 2009|
|2-Disc Digital Copy|
Death Eater Case
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1||Widescreen Edition||
11 April 2011
15 April 2011
|Two-Disc Special Edition|
|Blu-ray Combo Pack|
|Limited Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack + Wand pens|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2||DVD||
11 Nov, 2011
2 Dec, 2011
|Blu-ray Combo Pack|
Special Edition Box Sets
|"Well, I think we should put it back in order for them, don't you?"|
The Harry Potter Wizard's Collection contains 31 disks which has the eight films in Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet digital copy and five hours of never-before-seen exclusive material. It also contains 37 hours of special features, 10 hours of new to disc bonus content, collectible memorabilia and extended and 3D versions.
They are placed in a gift box and is the largest collection ever released by Warner Bros.
Films Included in Collection – All on Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet Digital Copy
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Theatrical Version and Extended Cut
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Theatrical Version and Extended Cut
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2D and 3D Versions)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2D and 3D Versions)
Special Features for Hours of Entertainment
Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection Bonus Disc
- Nearly 4 hours of features including:
- All New! “The Harry Potters You Never Met” - Watch how thrilling stunts from the films were performed, and learn about the tricks behind the major stunts in the series.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Bonus Disc
- Over 2 hours of features including:
- All New! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Pt. 7: Story”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Bonus Disc
- Over 4 hours of features including:
- All New! “Creating the World of Harry Potter, Pt. 8: Growing Up”
- All New! Extended “A Conversation with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe” - with 15 minutes of new footage
- Exclusive Premiums
- Exclusive memorabilia including a Map of Hogwarts, concept art prints, catalogues of props and posters, all designed by the graphic designers from the films.
Notes and references
- ↑ List of highest-grossing films on Wikipedia
- ↑ Magrath, Andrea (9 December 2010). "Better get to the wig store! Emma Watson and Harry Potter co-stars to re-shoot crucial final Deathly Hallows scenes", Daily Mail. Retrieved on 9 February 2011.
|J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series|
|Philosopher's Stone||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Chamber of Secrets||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Prisoner of Azkaban||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Goblet of Fire||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Order of the Phoenix||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Half-Blood Prince||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Deathly Hallows||book||film 1||game 1||film soundtrack 1||game soundtrack 1|
|film 2||game 2||film soundtrack 2||game soundtrack 2|
|Fantastic Beasts (film series)|
|Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||book||screenplay||film||soundtrack||game|
|Fantastic Beasts 2||film|