The Harry Potter movies are evergreen movies that would remain a lifelong favorite of many and with the release of a spin-off prequel in 2016, the franchise is expanding even further. Each of the movies was met with huge critical acclaim with some, of course, doing better than the others. Commercially, the Harry Potter movies made a huge profit from the box office and consequently made its primary brainchild J K Rowling a billionaire! The story of how the Harry Potter books made Rowling a billionaire is one that can be turned into an interesting movie as well. It is currently the third-highest-grossing film series with a combined box office gross of $7.7 billion from its 8 films.
In addition to its thumping success, the film series pioneered the style of splitting the final part of a film series into two – a style that would be adopted by subsequent successful film series such as Twilight and the Hunger Games.
Rowling wrote 7 Harry Potter books, but the final book was adapted into two feature-length movies titled – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2 – the later had a production budget of $250 million and grossed over $1 billion making it the most commercially successful of the film series. Like film series’ of such caliber, the Harry Potter movies made stars out of young actors who had just begun their career, some of them include Daniel Radcliffe who played the titular character, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
All The Harry Potter Movies in The Order of Their Release Dates
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
November 4, 2001
While being raised by his unkind uncle and aunt, Harry Potter at the age of 11 learns from a half-giant Rubeus Hagrid that he is a wizard and of how an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort killed his parents but his killing curse rebounded after he attempted to kill Harry. Harry then proceeds to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he becomes famous in the Wizarding World. At the school, he becomes close friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and together they find themselves in the middle of the mystery of a certain Philosopher’s Stone that is housed at their school.
Directed by Chris Columbus the film was a huge hit both commercially and critically. Grossing $975.1 million from a budget of $125 million, it became the highest-grossing film of the year 2001 and the second-highest of all-time, at the time, bested only by Titanic. It received three Oscar nods including for Best Original Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was made after Warner Bros. reportedly bought the film rights to JK Rowling’s books in 1999 for £1 million ($1.65 million).
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
November 3rd, 2002
It is Harry Potter’s second year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he continues to learn about magic while facing his own personal struggles which this time is about claims that he is the heir of the Chambers of Secrets founder, Salazar Slytherin, he consequently finds himself trapped in the Chambers after its opening leaves the entire school petrified. Chris Columbus returned to direct the film with Steve Kloves serving as the screenwriter.
Made on a budget of $100 million, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets made $879.2 million at the global box office making it the second-highest-grossing film of the year bested only by The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers which made $926 million on a lesser production budget of $94 million. The Chambers of Secret would become the last of the Harry Potter movies to star Richard Harris who portrayed the role of Professor Albus Dumbledore as he would pass away later that year.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
May 23rd, 2004
The third of the Harry Potter movies follows Harry’s third year the Hogwarts School of Wizardry. With a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is considered one of the best of the Harry Potter movies and this was thanks to a change in the film’s tone as well as its directing which was done by the Mexican film director, Alfonso Cuarón; the director of the first two films, Chris Columbus served only as the producer. Harry’s life is in danger as convicted murderer Sirius Black who has escaped from the Prison in Azkaban seeks to kill him. Harry also learns of his relationship with Black. To help defend the school against Black, the Ministry of Magic entrusts the Dementors of Azkaban to guard Hogwarts.
The film featured a number of A-list actors in supporting roles including David Thewlis who featured as Professor R. J. Lupin a new Hogwarts teacher who teaches “Defence Against the Dark Arts,” Gary Oldman plays Sirius Black, Michael Gambon replaces the late Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore, while Emma Thompson features as Sybill Trelawney. The movie again became the third time in a row that a Harry Potter movie was grossing as the second-highest film of the year with a box office gross of $796.9 million, the first place went to the animated film, Shrek 2. It was the first of the Harry Potter movies to use IMAX Technology as well as released at the IMAX theaters.
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
November 6th, 2005
The highlight of the fourth Harry Potter movie is the reborn of the evil wizard Lord Voldemort. Harry encounters him during the legendary Triwizard Tournament where three champions from different schools are chosen by the Goblet of Fire to compete against each other. The tournament doesn’t end without a plot twist as the Goblet also chooses Harry as the fourth competitor. Mike Newell directed the critically acclaimed Goblet of Fire which was praised for its higher level of maturity and performance from its lead actors. The MPAA rated it at PG-13 the first of the Harry Potter movies to be given the rating, in the UK is was rated at 12A. With an $897 million worldwide, it was 2005’s highest-grossing film and received the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design.
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
June 28th, 2007
Harry is tormented by nightmares as the Ministry of Magic struggles to believe that Lord Voldermot has indeed returned. The events that follow lead to a rebellion involving the Hogwart students, Order of the Phoenix (the secret organization that Dumbledore founded to fight against Voldermot and his followers), Death Eaters and the Ministry of Magic. Professor Umbridge, (Imelda Staunton) is sent by the Ministry of Magic to replace Professor R. J. Lupin as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. It was the first of the Harry Potter movies to be released in IMAX 3D. The movie grossed $940 million to become the fourth-highest-grossing Harry Potter movie. The Order of Phoenix became the first Harry Potter movie not written by Steve Kloves as the honors went to Michael Goldenberg. David Yates served as the director.
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
July 6th, 2009
Steve Kloves returns as the screenwriter on The Half-Blood Prince which was made on a budget of $250 million making it the most expensive Harry Potter movie. Described by one critic as an emotionally satisfying story, the movie follows Harry’s 6th year at Hogwarts as he falls in love while working hand-in-hand with Albus Dumbledore to find ways to bring down the evil Voldermot who continues to terrorize the Wizardry world and the muggles. Harry seeks to find a memory that is believed to hold the key to bring Voldermot down for good. The 6th installment of the Harry Potter series gets his name from an inscription on a book which Harry takes possession of while in a Potions class, on the book is written: “This is the property of the Half-Blood Prince.” The film grossed $934.5 million worldwide receiving BAFTA and Oscar nominations for Best Special Visual Effects and Best Cinematography respectively.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
November 11, 2010
The 7th installment of the Harry Potter film series is supposed to be Harry’s final year at the Hogwarts School, but with Voldermot’s rise to power and the collapse of the Ministry of Magic, he is unable to do so. He teams up with his friends Hermione and Ron to find and destroy the Horcruxes which have been discovered holds the keys to Voldermot’s immortality. The film’s budget is estimated to be a little less than $250 million and with that, it grossed $960.4 million making it the third-highest-grossing film of the series and of the year 2010 bested by Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. It received two nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects.
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
July 7th, 2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was one of the most anticipated films of 2011 and as seen in its worldwide gross of over $1.3 billion, the build-up from the previous installment did entice lots of people. Harry and his friends continue on their quest to defeat Voldermot who is now aware that they are seeking to destroy Horcruxes. The final installment of the film series is not only the most commercially successful but also the highest-rated with its 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.