Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, right) watches as Professor Dumbledore (Richard Harris) looks at the newly renewed Fawkes the Phoenix in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
Image: Peter Mountain, Warner Bros.
Have you heard the latest about the upcoming Harry Potter movies? It turns out that the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be made into not one, but two movies. My first reaction? Hollywood is getting more greedy than even I thought was possible.
According to my sources, part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released in November 2010 and the second part will appear six months later in May 2011. Since the Harry Potter film franchise is currently worth $4.5 billion, splitting the last episode into two seems to be absurdly greedy, but apparently not.
“We feel that the best way to do the book, and its many fans, justice is to expand the screen adaptation of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ and release the film in two parts,” protested Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group.
“Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final book in Rowling’s series, is a long and meandering 759-page long saga. In this book, Potter and his trusted friends set out to locate and destroy seven magical objects, known as Horcruxes, which house portions of the evil Dark Lord Voldemort’s soul. This much-anticipated book, the last installment in the series, received a huge response when it was released last July, selling more than 11.5 million copies in its first 10 days on the market in the United States alone.
Daniel Radcliffe, the young actor who plays Harry Potter, agreed with the President of Warner Bros.
“I think it’s the only way you can do it, without cutting out a huge portion of the book,” he pointed out.
Radcliffe plays one of the three child heroes of JK Rowling’s seven-part series of novels about the mythical English boarding school, Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
In the last book, there was a long stretch where the child wizards were hiding from Lord Voldemort’s armies by camping out in the wilderness. Considering that the camping scenes in the last book were mostly silly and pointless wandering and were annoying as hell to myself and to many other readers, I wonder why they won’t cut most of that out of the film? [my review]. That’d get rid of a large meandering portion of the last novel without destroying the complexity.
But the audience will at least be spared other distractions; according to the Warner Bros spokesperson, all of the film’s characters have been signed for the final two films, thereby preserving some of the film’s integrity. They also are bringing back director David Yates, who directed the fifth film and is also working on the sixth. The sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, currently in production in the U.K., will be released in November, 2008.
Coincidentally, Warner Bros is constructing a Harry Potter Theme Park, known as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Florida. Because this theme park will open in 2009, the release of the final two films could be a marketing ploy to increase park attendance. This theme park will feature plenty of opportunities to spend one’s hard-earned knuts on various rides, trinkets sold in shops and other attractions based on the Potter books.
“It could be a way to get that park off to a very solid start with new installments in the franchise,” observed Tuna Amobi, an entertainment analyst with Standard & Poor’s in New York.
Of course, since they all are determined to split the last book into two films, I am curious to know where they will break the story? Will they break it at the end of Harry’s and Hermione’s (and occasionally Ron’s) wilderness experience? That seems to be the only (somewhat natural) break point that I can think of, but that is 2/3rds of the way through the book, if I recall correctly. Maybe you can think of a better place to break it?
On one hand, as a crazy Harry Potter fan, I am reluctant to let go of this last chance to enjoy my first-see of the story for myself, but on the other hand, I find it impossible to believe that the Harry Potter empire is incapable of making this last episode of the film without going into two parts, unless they are trying to milk it for every last dollar they can get from it. I am just curious to know into whose pockets the resulting proceeds will accumulate?