From the mind of a struggling single mother was born a series of children’s books that took the world by storm, sparking an era of young people to read and thereby capturing the hearts of an adult audience. The painting was ready for page-to-screen adaptation, and 20 years ago, with great anticipation, the world saw the start of something that would leave an impact beyond the wildest dreams of anyone – real cinematic witchcraft and real cinematic magic.
On November 16, 2001, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone Across the Pond) officially opened with the biggest movie release of all time in the UK and US. United. Breaking the record for the highest opening weekend ever on both sides of the Atlantic, in the UK it grossed Â£ 9.6million over two days, and in the US and Canada , it grossed a phenomenal amount of $ 90.3 million.
Undoubtedly, the world has been caught up in Pottermania, with the film’s three young protagonists, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson instantly propelled to stratospheric heights of glory. Even now, the impact of this first adaptation of JK Rowling’s spellbinding novel series – along with that of its seven direct sequels – remains strong, and as today marks the official 20th anniversary of this phenomenal fantasy film, here we take a look at the incredible journey of the boy who survived …
Whoever you are, whatever you do or wherever you are, it will have been next to impossible for the past two decades for the magic of Harry Potter to escape you. To avoid it, you’ll probably need your own invisibility cloak.
After spawning eight direct film adaptations, two spinoff films (with a third in the works and two more in the pipeline), a studio tour experience, multiple themed attractions, and a stage show, JK Rowling’s book series has been released. the genesis of one of the greatest pop culture phenomena in history. Having sold over 500 million copies worldwide, the Harry Potter novels are the best-selling book series of all time and have been translated into 80 languages.
Beginning with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the final four novels in the series consecutively set records as the best-selling books in history, with the final installment – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – taking place. selling around 2.7 million copies in the UK and 8.3 million copies in the US within 24 hours of release.
It seems strange then to consider that the road to publication for a woman who has become one of the richest authors in the world has been long and rather arduous.
In 1995, and while living on state allowances, JK Rowling completed his manuscript for his first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, using a manual typewriter. Set in an alternate world where witches and wizards lived in secret alongside non-magical people, or “muggles,” Rowling’s book introduced her titular young wizard – an orphan who was about to begin her magical education in the world. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Witchcraft, and discover that his fate was greater than he could have imagined.
With the Fulham-based Christopher Little Literary Agency representing her, Rowling set out to find a publisher and was turned down by the first 12 who were approached (we thought it must be bad being the guy who refused the Beatles … Ouch …).
A year later, however, Lucky Charm 13 would bear fruit. In 1996, Rowling’s book received the green light from Bloomsbury, a little-known London publishing house, whose president had passed the first chapter of Philosopher’s Stone to his daughter. Apparently his response after reading it was to immediately demand the second.
Bloomsbury agreed to publish the novel, and it came out in 1997. Legend has it, however, that publisher Barry Cunningham advised Rowling to find a day job because the chances of making a lot of money in books for children were thin.
He, or Rowling herself, had no idea how colossal his incredible creation was going to become.
Fast forward to 1998, and with book number two – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – in stores and two Smarties awards at Rowling’s belt, Warner Bros. bought the film rights to the first two novels for a princely seven-figure sum. . When drafting Rowling’s contract, the studio made Rowling’s wishes for adaptations a priority, including having the films shot in Britain with a predominantly British cast. With much of the seven-novel series yet to be released by the time the first film went into production, Rowling worked closely with screenwriter Steve Kloves to ensure that no details of the film’s script were made. would contradict future plot developments that she had foreseen.
As Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg was approached to helm the first film, director and architect of ET and Jurassic Park gave up, making way for Chris Columbus to take a seat in the director’s chair.
Then came the time for the casting, and in particular to determine which three children of the world would see their destinies changed forever with the opportunity of a lifetime.
Open castings have taken place for the three main roles of Harry, Ron and Hermione, with – as Rowling insisted – only British children being counted. Thousands of young hopefuls took part in a three-step audition process as Columbus sought the sparkle that would bring Rowling’s titular young wizard and his closest friends to life. Meanwhile, a group of established local acting talents were in discussion for the various adult roles, and by the end of August 2000, Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, and Maggie Smith had been selected for teachers respectively. Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall, with Robbie Coltrane also having been confirmed as a lovable half-giant, Hagrid. And on August 21, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson were finally selected to fill the dresses of the three main protagonists, and were set on the path to what would be more than a decade of global spotlight and film celebrities.
By the time the film The Philosopher’s Stone arrived in 2001 and broke box office records, the Wizarding World of JK Rowling was on the rise and taking over the world.
Two other novels – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – had now been published with enthusiasm by critics, and Rowling’s fan base was skyrocketing.
Over the years, film adaptations continued, and although they were rocked by some setbacks – including the sad death of Richard Harris in 2002 – they continued in their monumental success, with the result that the eight-part series films (culminating in 2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) is now the third-highest grossing film series of all time, with $ 7.7 billion in worldwide revenue.
When it comes to novels, the Harry Potter series has grown more and more, breaking record after record, with the end result being that Book Seven has sold around 2.7 million copies in the UK. and 8.3 million copies in the United States within one day of its release.
Since the culmination of the film and book series, the magic of Harry Potter has continued to be enjoyed by millions around the world. In 2019 alone, the number of visitors to the London Studio Tour was such that the attraction generated nearly Â£ 133million in revenue.
Since its premiere in 2016, audiences in theaters around the world have always been delighted with the show on stage and the sequel to the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book series.
And, that same year, the fruits of Rowling’s marvelous imaginations returned to the big screen with the premiere of the Fantastic Beasts spinoff film series, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. While admittedly this latest film series has so far not drawn audiences in the same way as the originals, an opportunity to re-enter the wizarding world and see that world expand. been praised by fans and lapped by the masses.
With the third in the series – Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore – slated for release next year, we can be sure that the wonder of the wizarding world will be embraced by millions of viewers once again. And since this is the first fresh bloom of Rowling’s extraordinary creation since the dawn of the Covid pandemic, a little magic will no doubt be appreciated a little more.
For now, we wish the on-screen Potterverse a very happy birthday and shout a big “three cheers” to the boy who survived.
Thank you for the magic, and may this continue for a long time.