Films

The Harry Potter Film Series

In October 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the first two Harry Potter books for a reported seven-figure sum. From the start, J.K. Rowling set the ground rules, making sure the films were as loyal to the books as they could possibly be. This meant they would be filmed in Britain, consist of an all-British cast, and the plot would stay close to the book. As the result of Rowling’s demands, the films have stayed true to the books and have been a favorite among fans since the beginning.

The first film was released to immediate critical and box office success, as were the following seven (the final book was split into two parts due to plot issues). By the end of the series, the films had grossed over $7.5B worldwide in the box office and had been nominated for twelve Academy Awards.

THE SERIES:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter is an orphaned boy brought up by his unfriendly 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 Granger become entangled in the mystery of the Philosopher’s Stone which is being kept within the school.

Director: Chris Columbus

Tagline: Let the Magic Begin

Release date: November 16, 2001

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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), learns that he can speak Parseltongue, and also discovers the properties of a mysterious diary only to find himself trapped within the Chamber of Secrets itself.

Director: Chris Columbus

Tagline: Something Evil Has Returned to Hogwarts!

Release date: November 15, 2002

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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 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.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Tagline: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Release date: May 31, 2004

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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 Defence Against the Dark Arts 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 encounter with a re-born Lord Voldemort.

Director: Mike Newell

Tagline: Everything is about to change

Release date: November 18, 2005

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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. Therefore the rebellion involving the students of Hogwarts, secret organisation Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic and the Death Eaters begins.

Director: David Yates

Tagline: The Rebellion Begins

Release date: July 11, 2007 (US) July 12, 2007 (UK)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters are increasing their terror upon the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. Albus Dumbledore persuades his old friend and colleague 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’, which contains astonishing information. Meanwhile, Dumbledore and Harry secretly work together to discover the method on how to destroy Voldemort once and for all. As romance and hormones lurk within the castle’s walls all year, Draco Malfoy struggles to carry out a deed presented to him by the Dark Lord.

Director: David Yates

Tagline: Dark Secrets Revealed

Release date: July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

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 adventure 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.

Director: David Yates

Tagline: Nowhere is Safe

Release date: November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

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 Lord Voldemort. However, now that the Dark Lord has obtained the yet unbeatable Elder Wand, he aims to complete his final stage to ultimate power and launches an attack on Hogwarts School, where the trio return for one last stand against the dark forces that threaten to take over the Wizarding and Muggle worlds.

Director: David Yates

Tagline: It All Ends Here

Release date: July 15, 2011

Synopses courtesy of Warner Bros.

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