Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

EIGHT Harry Potter Movies?

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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?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, American book cover [detail].

Comments

  1. #1 Sammy
    March 14, 2008

    I’m sure making more money does play into it at least somewhat, but quite a few fans on the internet have been hoping the movie would be split into two so that it could better represent the book. If I recall correctly, quite a few people were hoping that would happen for Goblet of Fire. For that one, though, a friend of mine who hadn’t read the books (but had seen the first three movies) was utterly confused, so maybe having more time to tell the story won’t be such a bad thing?

  2. #2 Josh Charles
    March 14, 2008

    I’m dreading it. I loved the books so much…until book six came out. It left me going, WTF? Maybe, though, just maybe in a strange reversal of the norm, the movies won’t suck as much.

    Well, at least there is fanfiction…

  3. #3 Heather
    March 14, 2008

    I agree that it may, in part, be some sort of ploy to earn more money. But, as a huge book fan, my biggest issue with the movies so far has been the number of things they cut out that eventually become important. I think a major part of the seventh film (and the need to expand it) isn’t just the 759 pages, but the amount of flashbacks or “re-education” of the back-story that they’ve cut over the other films and need to put into the film to make all the points work. It should be interesting to see how many of those things make it back in and which things they just change to save time and energy.

    And, the monetary plus for the industry and the parks probably wouldn’t hurt.

  4. #4 Siamang
    March 14, 2008

    Break it after the escape from the Malfoys. That way you get a big wizard battle climax for the first movie. Bury Dobby. Nurse wounds at Shell Cottage. Prepare for the coming storm.

  5. #5 Bob
    March 14, 2008

    Hollywood is getting more greedy than even I thought was possible.

    Yeah, it has to be Hollywood greed. Because no one could possibly think that Saint Rowling had this in mind when she wrote that “long and meandering 759-page long saga.” She certainly gave no thought to her potential profits from the movies; she was just being true to her “art.”

  6. #6 Eric
    March 15, 2008

    Never underestimate the power of greed. But as Micheal Douglas said – “Greed is good!” Everyone needs to feed their families at least, but Hollywood takes it to an art form. This is hardly proof of that, but their strong lobbying to make copyrights go on forever is.

    Shouldn’t Mickey mouse be public domain by now? Will harry potter ever be? We are all greedy (or else we don’t eat), but surely the payoff for an idea ends somewhere.

  7. #7 Ian
    March 18, 2008

    If you’re going to whine about the “meandering” in 7, then why not start with 1 and go at all of them? What’s with all the meandering with the letter of invitation to Hogwarts? Why didn’t Dumbledore just have the invitation arrive directly in Harry’s pocket?

    What about the meander into the international Quidditch game at the start of book 4? What about the meander over Harry’s trial for using magic against the dementors at the start of book 5?

    Rowling is telling her story the way she thought it ought to be told. The movies cannot do each whole book justice as they sit.

    The only valid criticism for something put up like this for public approval is whether or not the book or the movie actually brings in the public – regardless of who’s making money from it – and she’s been proven right repeatedly on that score.

    When the movies first began to come out, everyone whined about this or that being excluded. The mistake they made was in not making every movie a two-parter, because I guarantee you that when movie 8 (if indeed there is one) is all wrapped up, people will still be clamoring for more.

    As for 7 and the trio on the lam, I thought it was funny, and was rather let down when it was over and they had to move on to the finale, by which I wasn’t overwhelmed.

    The bottom line is that not everyone is the same as you, Dear Heart and you’re going to be disappointed if you think they are or ought to be!