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October 11, 2015

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Harry Potter #8 On Reggie’s Take Movie Franchise Countdown

by Reggie's Take

Harry Potter is a set of seven fantasy novels written by J.K. Rowling. Spawning eight movies, Harry Potter has gone on to be one of the top grossing movie franchise’s of all time and comes in at number eight in my Reggie’s Take Movie Franchise Countdown.

In 1997, film producer David Heyman at his London office received a copy of J.K. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Read by his secretary who gave the book positive reviews decided to read the book himself after originally disliking the title.

Heyman’s excitement over the book would lead to Warner Brothers purchasing the film rights to the first four novels for a reported two million dollars in U.S. currency. Rowling was initially 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, that would have given Warner Brothers the ability to make non-author-written sequels.

After a seven month search Daniel Radcliffe was discovered by producer David Heyman and writer Steve Kloves. Radcliffe before being cast as Harry Potter was in the 1999 BBC television production of David Copperfield where he played the title role’s childhood years.

British actors Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were cast in the roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Rupert was eleven years and Emma ten at the time of their casting.

Over the course of the eight films there were many notable actors used that included Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, and Dame Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall.

Richard Harris, who played Professor Albus Dumbledore, died on October 25, 2002. This caused producers to re-cast the role for third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. David Heyman and director Alfonso Cuarón would choose Michael Gambon to portray Dumbledore, which he did for all the remaining films.

Other notable recurring actors included Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, Brendan Gleeson as Alastor Moody, Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley, Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley, Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew, David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, Emma Thompson as Sybill Trelawney, Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley, and Julie Walters as Molly Weasley.

Stuart Craig was the production designer on all eight movies and because the books were still being written as the movies were being made some sets had to be altered as newer films were made, even the look and design of Hogwarts.

Filming for Harry Potter was officially concluded on December 21, 2010 exactly four years to the day that Rowling’s website revealed the title to the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Filming of the Harry Potter franchise was done at the Leavesden Studios, Hertfordshire, England for the entire time filming took place. It later opened to the public as a studio tour and renamed as Warner Brothers Studios, Leavesden.

Reggie’s Take:
I’ve watched all eight movies in the Harry Potter franchise, but I’ve never read one of the books. For myself I found the Harry Potter movie franchise intriguing and enjoyable. I won’t say its one of my favorite movie franchises out there, but I defiantly see the appeal the younger audience would have for it.

The Harry Potter movies are considered one of Hollywood’s tent-pole franchises equivalent to Star Wars and James Bond. The eight films have garnered Harry Potter as the 2nd highest grossing film franchise only Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has earned more.

I’m not surprised that the Harry Potter franchise finished in the top ten in my movie franchise voting. It has its appeal to young and the old alike. If you’ve never read the books watching the films from the beginning can be an enjoyable ride of fantasy and adventure.

Could or should the Harry Potter franchise have been voted in as a top five movie franchise? Maybe, maybe not, but with the franchises remaining in my countdown the number eight spot may seem appropriate.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Poster

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / WB / 2001

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (released in some countries as “The Sorcerer’s Stone”)
Upon his 11th birthday, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), who lives in misery with an aunt and uncle that don’t want him, learns from a giant named Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) that he is the orphaned son of powerful wizards. Harry is offered a place at prestigious Hogwarts, a boarding school for wizards that exists in a realm of magic and fantasy outside the dreary existence of normal humans or “Muggles.” At Hogwarts, Harry quickly makes new friends and begins piecing together the mystery of his parents’ deaths, which appear not to have been accidental after all.

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Poster

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / WB / 2002

Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley  and Hermione Granger return for a second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Headmaster Dumbledore, Professor Snape, Professor McGonagall, and Hagrid the Giant are joined by new faculty members Gilderoy Lockhart, a self-centered expert in Defense against the Dark Arts, and Sprout, who teaches Herbology. However, it isn’t long before Harry and company discover something is amiss at Hogwarts: Students are petrified like statues, threats are written in blood on the walls, and a deadly monster is on the loose. It seems that someone has opened the mysterious Chamber of Secrets, letting loose the monster and all its calamitous powers. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to find the secret chamber and slay the beast, speculation is rife that one of the heirs of Salazar Slytherin, the co-founder of the school, opened the chamber as a warning against the presence of “mudbloods” (magic-users of impure lineage) at the school — and that the culprit may be fellow student Draco Malfoy.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Poster

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / WB / 2004

Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and is bent on murdering the teenage wizard. While Hermione’s cat torments Ron’s sickly rat, causing a rift among the trio, a swarm of nasty Dementors is sent to protect the school from Black. A mysterious new teacher helps Harry learn to defend himself, but what is his secret tie to Sirius Black?

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Poster

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / WB / 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire sees Harry returning for his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with his friends, Ron and Hermione. There is an upcoming tournament between the three major schools of magic, with one participant selected from each school by the Goblet of Fire. When Harry’s name is drawn, even though he is not eligible and is a fourth player, he must compete in the dangerous contest.

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Poster

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / WB / 2007

Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry learns that many in the wizarding community do not know the truth of his encounter with Lord Voldemort. Cornelius Fudge, minister of Magic, appoints his toady, Dolores Umbridge, as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, for he fears that professor Dumbledore will take his job. But her teaching is deficient and her methods, cruel, so Harry prepares a group of students to defend the school against a rising tide of evil.

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Poster

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / WB / 2009

As Death Eaters wreak havoc in both Muggle and Wizard worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for students. Though Harry suspects there are new dangers lurking within the castle walls, Dumbledore is more intent than ever on preparing the young wizard for the final battle with Voldemort. Meanwhile, teenage hormones run rampant through Hogwarts, presenting a different sort of danger. Love may be in the air, but tragedy looms, and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I Poster

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I / WB / 2010

Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry, Ron and Hermione begin a mission to destroy the Horcruxes, the sources of Voldemort’s immortality. Though they must rely on one another more than ever, dark forces threaten to tear them apart. Voldemort’s Death Eaters have seized control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, and they are searching for Harry — even as he and his friends prepare for the ultimate showdown.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II Poster

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II / WB / 2011

A clash between good and evil awaits as young Harry, Ron and Hermione prepare for a final battle against Lord Voldemort. Harry has grown into a steely lad on a mission to rid the world of evil. The friends must search for the Horcruxes that keep the dastardly wizard immortal. Harry and Voldemort meet at Hogwarts Castle for an epic showdown where the forces of darkness may finally meet their match.

1 Comment
  1. Oct 11 2015

    I have never understood why American audiences had to have the first film renamed as the Sorcerer’s Stone. Maybe it’s just more appealing to North American taste.

    One of my favorites of the series is actually Deathly Hallows Part 1. I know a lot of people think it falls a bit flat in the series but I really enjoyed the character development and interaction in that film. It was nice after 6 years just to see them together for a bit and that film really showed off that the three stars had acting chops.

    Like

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