Harry Potter: A Look Back

Harry Potter: It All Ends

Please see the video below for the touching ending to the 10 years of incredible work done by the
Harry Potter cast and crew.

Harry Potter: It All Ends

Emotional Goodbyes

J.K. Rowling, Dan Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint Give Emotional Goodbye to 'Potter' Series

J.K. Rowling, Dan Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint Give Emotional Goodbye to 'Potter' Series

Monday, June 11, 2007

Retailers Continue to Face Discounting Issues for "Deathly Hallows"

U.S. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows front cover artReuters is reporting today about the continuing dilemma various retailers are facing when setting their price for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Many of the large chains are setting low prices for the last Harry Potter book, such as Walmart and Amazon who have cut the regular price by nearly half, causing one rep of industry magazine Publishing News to exclaim: "They are literally not going to make one penny out of the book. It is stupid -- just throwing money away ... The world has gone mad."

Independent retailers have a very difficult time matching these prices, and some are offering alternatives to the deep discounts, as the article says:

The Chapter One Bookstore, an independent bookseller in Hamilton, Montana, is selling the book at full price and donating $7 of each sale to a library of the buyer's choice.

"The discounting -- online and at the chains -- does affect what you think you can sell," said Russ Lawrence, head of the American Booksellers Association and part-owner of the Chapter One Bookstore.

"Each bookseller has to decide how to deal with that."

While many of the retailers are struggling with the price of the book, many are planning large release events in July for the arrival of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows(find a party here at our
Potterparties.com site), because so many people are anxious for the last installment in the series and especially because it is excitement over a book and not a game or movie.

"We get to host a party in July for probably 200 kids who are excited about a book. And that's a real opportunity for us to promote the whole idea of reading for pleasure," Lawrence said of plans for the Chapter One Bookstore....

"There's people informally chatting about a book everyone is reading that normally wouldn't do that," said Mark Suchomel, president of Chicago-based Independent Publishers Group.

"For a few weeks, it's almost a national book club."


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dan Radcliffe Finishes West End Run in "Equus"

Daniel Radcliffe and Richard GriffithsThis past evening in London, Harry Potter actor Dan Radcliffe made his final performance in the revival production of the 1970s classic play, "Equus," at the Gielgud Theater. Radcliffe, along with his Harry Potter costar Richard Griffiths, began the production on February 27th and received much praise for their performances from the plays first night on stage. Playbill.com talks of the plays final West End show and gives some information on the rumored return of Radcliffe and Griffiths in future tours of Peter Shaffer work, saying:

Thea Sharrock's production will be heading for New York next spring with, it is thought, Radcliffe and Griffiths reprising their roles in a May or June 2008 transfer. There are also plans for a production in Australia.

Following the final performance in the West End, a 12-week U.K. national tour will begin at the Theatre Royal, Bath on Aug. 28.

We have yet to receive further word on this US return rumor, and will update you when we do!


Mary GrandPre Talks "Deathly Hallows" Cover and More

U.S. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows front cover artIn a new interview with the Pioneer Press, artist Mary GrandPre discusses the cover art she created for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She says the whole process of creating her work for the last Harry Potter novel took two and a half months, as she says she "first does "pencil roughs" (drawings on tracing paper) and then her medium of choice, pastels on paper."As one of the few who have read the book, Mary Grand Pre says of "Deathly Hallows" :

"I really do like book seven," she says. "I really, really did. Not that it was easy to read. There are some very sad things in there, and I can't say what they are. But I think it was really well done."

Emphasising that she has "to be careful to not give anything away as far as what's going to happen," in the overall cover art, the illustrator of the Scholastic editions of the series notes:

"There are just a few of us who have read book seven," GrandPre says. "The manuscript is flown down to me. I keep it in a safe once it gets here. I don't talk to anybody about when I get it or where I keep it. I sign a paper promising that I won't. It's all very legal and protected, and I have to sign confidentiality agreements. It's very serious stuff. Because if it gets out, if there's any kind of theft or leak, that's huge.

"I do get nervous," she says. "But my family - we don't even talk about it. My friends don't bring it up. I'll get calls, from reporters or people who know it's coming up, and they'll ask me who dies. Of course, I can't answer. I can't even say I know."

So what can she say about book seven?

"Nothing, pretty much," she says, laughing.

Please note, the article does confirm a detail first mentioned on Pottercast regarding an element from the cover art for "
Sorcerer's Stone," that she used again on this last cover art for Deathly Hallows. Hence, a slight spoiler caution is given for those wishing to read this entire interview, here.


Tracklist for "Order of the Phoenix" Score

OotP International PosterAmazon.com has now posted the list of music for the soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The score is composed by Nicholas Hooper and the soundtrack (available for pre-order here in our Cauldron Shop) will be released on July 10.

As this may be movie spoiler for some, you can click below to read the entire list (for those on the text only-stop now :) )


David Heyman Talks "Phoenix," "Deathly Hallows,"and Life Post Potter

David Heyman (center) with Rupert Grint and Emma Watson
The new issue of Newsweek Magazine contains an interview with Harry Potter film producer David Heyman, where he discusses both the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film as well as the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows novel.

Of the movie he briefly mentions the trio, as well as remarking again the call he made to author J.K. Rowling for information on the Black family tapestry which will be seen in the "Order of the Phoenix" movie, saying he e-mailed Jo and "About 15 minutes later we received a family tree that goes back six generations with names, birthdates, family crests, a motto. It was all in her head."

Noting he can not wait to read "Deathly Hallows," Mr. Heyman goes on to reflect on what the arrival of the final installment in the Harry Potter book series will mean for Harry Potter fans around the world.

"It's a combination of sadness and excitement, I think—for Jo, and for all of us," he says. "This world has become a huge part of millions and millions of people's lives. We all love it so much, and I think, afterward, there will be a little hole in our lives for a while."


Friday, June 08, 2007

Today Show Reveals "Deathly Hallows" Deluxe Edition Cover Art

Deathly Hallows Deluxe Edition Cover Art
The Deluxe Edition Cover Art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows US edition is right here!
The box art is here!

This morning
NBC's Today Show featured a first look at the cover of the Special Deluxe Edition Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. According to the official Today show blog, this edition with a print run of 100,000 copies, will retail for $65 and contain 816 pages. Arthur Levine, US editor of the Harry Potter books, is noted in the article as saying that the Special Edition cover art is from one of his favorite scenes in the book, and was an image he specifically asked to be featured on the Deluxe cover. Scholastic Vice President and Creative Director, David Saylor describes the scene as:

“Set during a highly dramatic sunset, Harry, Hermione, and Ron--clothes in tatters--cling atop a flying dragon in this astonishing artwork created by Mary GrandPr√© for the deluxe edition. As mist creeps down towering hillsides to a village below, questions arise about where the trio is headed and what has led them to this spellbinding moment."

Update: The
Harry Potter Scholastic website now features the Deluxe Edition cover art as well as the option to explore, up close, this amazing new cover.

We also now have available the high res images of this new cover as well as the Deluxe Edition packaging!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Deluxe Cover Art
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Deluxe Cover Box

More news is coming in on this cover, we will update shortly.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Emma Watson, Covergirl of the July Issue of Tatler Magazine

Emma Watson
Actress Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) is interviewed and the focus of a new, six-page photo spread in the July issue of UK magazine, Tatler. The article features a lengthy interview with the young actress who speaks about many aspects of her life, including fame, school, style, family and much more. Emma is described in the article as being 'sophisticated beyond her years' and 'has always remained sane and down to earth.' On the topic of fame, Emma is quoted as saying:

"[Becoming famous] happened when I was so young but I don't find it difficult to have a nice ordinary life. People who try to hide from fame can make it go completely the wrong way. All those huge designer shades make them look like bugs! And walking around with bodyguards draws more attention to you. I think the best way [to cope with fame] is to try and live as normal of a life as possible."

She also notes that when interacting with her fans, "It is odd how normal courtesies don't seem to apply when people recognize someone. Maybe it's because they think they only have that moment to meet you. A lot of people call me Hermione and forget I am a real person and have another name."

You can read the entire article where she speaks more on those subjects as well as view the beautiful images from the photoshoot
here, thanks to Emma-Watson.net.

Emma will next appear in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is released in theaters on July 11th.


New OotP Video Game Developers Diary; Footage of Potter Actors Recording for Game

OotP Video Game Cover
Along with the video from EA we showed you last night, IGN has a new video online, featuring the process of the actors recording their voices for the new Harry Potter video game. This trailer features interviews with the developers of the game as well as studio footage of "Order of the Phoenix" film actors Bonnie Wright, Katie Leung, Tom Felton, Rupert Grint, James and Oliver Phelps, Matt Lewis and more during the recording process.

The Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix video game will be released on the PS2, PS3, PSP, GameBoy Advance, PC-DVD, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and Wii Platforms, June 26th.


"Here Comes Harry" in June Issue of Film Fantasy Magazine

Film Fantasy Magazine
The June 2007 issue of Film Fantasy Magazine contains a five page spread on upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film with interviews from the cast, a breakdown of the upcoming film as well as the Trio's thoughts on director David Yates and the tone of the new film. While some topics mentioned in the article have been published before, actors Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) do give some insight into the tone and plot of the new film. Quoteage:

While there will be plenty of fun and magic, Radcliffe warns, "It's very different from the fourth one, which was very spectacular. This one is much darker, more internal emotional journey."

Radcliffe prepared for Phoenix by meeting with a bereavement counselor so he could understand survivor's guilt, since his two main relationships in the film- with his godfather Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) and Cho- are grounded in a mutual need to bond with another person after a great, shared loss.

"Sirius is clinging on to James [Harry's father and Sirius' best friend] through me, and I'm trying to know my father through him," Radcliffe details. "The same thing happens with me and Cho. I was the last person there when her last boy friend was killed."

The article goes on to quote OotP director David Yates along with actors Imelda Staunton (Professor Umbridge) and Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), who says of his experience making the film: "I get to have a wand battle with Gary Oldman, possibly my favorite actor in the universe," Isaacs says. "We get to play around like two 10-year-olds." You can read the entirety of this article
here in our image galleries.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in theaters July 11.


Teen Vogue Updates with More Harry Potter Features

Emma, Dan, and Rupert in Teen Vogue
In addition to the Teen Vogue interview and behind the scenes photos we showed you last month, the fashion magazine has updated their site with some new features with the Harry Potter trio. First, a special 'Fashion Timeline' showcasing the Trio's styles and their evolution throughout the years is now online. Also, fans can now test their Harry Potter IQ on a Quiz now featured on the site.

Finally, new subscribers to the magazine will receive a free poster of the Trio when you subscribe through the
Teen Vogue website.


ABC Family to Show Sneak Peek of 'OotP'

In anticipation of the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on July 11th, U.S. cable station ABC Family will be airing the first three films in the franchise as well as giving fans a sneak peek of the new film.

Air times are as follows:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Friday, July 6th (7:30 – 11 pm ET/PT) Encore presentation – Saturday, July 7th (3:30 pm – 7 pm ET/PT)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Saturday, July 7th (7 pm – 11 pm ET/PT) Encore presentation – Sunday, July 8th (1 pm – 5 pm ET/PT)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – July 8th (5 pm – 8 pm ET/PT) Encore presentation – Sunday, July 8th (8 pm – 11 pm ET/PT)

According to the press release:

The triple feature weekend – from Friday, July 6, through Sunday, July 8 – includes airings of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets andHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. During each broadcast, viewers will also be treated to never-before-seen footage from the newest Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

High Res Images Online from Tour of Hogwarts Set

Some excellent high-res photos are online tonight from EmmaEmpire.net showing a fans recent trip to to the Divinity School and Leavesden Studios in Oxford to tour the original Harry Potter sets. In this set you see excellent images of the Great Hall, Hospital Wing and much more. The images from the set tour can be seen here.


First Look at "Order of the Phoenix" on HBO July 3rd

OotP International Poster
Cable network HBO will feature an 'inside look' at the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie on their "First Look" series beginning July 3rd at 8:45 pm EST. The 13 minute program will air multiple times during the month of July; a full schedule of the specific times and channels can be viewed here.

On a related note, we also received word that
HBO Asia will be broadcasting a two part first look at the "Order of the Phoenix" along with the channels premiere of the forth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Scheduled for Sunday July 8th, the first half of the hour long "First Look" will air directly before "Goblet of Fire" beginning at 8:30pm, with the second half airing after the film.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix premieres in theaters on July 11th.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Harry Potter Apparates Onto Cell Phones This Summer

Official Order of the Phoenix Movie PosterEA and Warner Bros. today announced a partnership to extend the Harry Potter universe onto mobile phones. This summer, fans will be able to download the Order of the Phoenix mobile game and personalization content, including ringtones, voicetones and wallpapers based on the upcoming film.


Mary GrandPre: "There is a Reason" for "Deathly Hallows" Cover Art Images

U.S. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows front cover artThe Detroit Free Press has a new interview this morning with artist Mary GrandPre about the work she does illustrating the US editions of the Harry Potter novels. Stating again she can not speak about her thoughts having been one of the very few to have already read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as part of her work before creating the cover art to the Scholastic edition of the novel, she does she feels this cover is her "favorite." The article does go on with a bit more (no spoilers!) regarding the cover art to the final Harry Potter book:

And speaking of the final cover, does she get a kick out of all the excitement created by the early release of the cover? "I think it's fun to see the reaction from people. The fans that are really diehard fans look very closely at the artwork," Mary says.

And they should. "I try to make everything have a meaning. ... There is a reason why something is in the illustration. I don't just put it in because it looks better. It really does have to have a meaning or part of the story has to support it."

Harry, Ron and Hermione have been a part of Mary's life for a long time -- the first U.S. edition was published about 10 years ago. So how does Mary feel as the final book is about to be released? "Oh gosh, it's actually quite a big relief that it's done," she says.

You can see more of Mary's work for all of the Scholastic editions of the Harry Potter novels
here in our image galleries, as well as see some of her other work via her website.


Warner Bros. Consumer Products, 20Q.Net and Radica Team Up for Popular 20Q™ Game to Cast its Spell with New Harry Potter Version

Harry Potter 20 Questions
BURBANK, Calif., May 22, 2007 - Warner Bros. Consumer Products has teamed up with 20Q.net, Inc. and Radica USA Ltd., a subsidiary of Mattel, to introduce the newest version of the popular 20Q™ handheld game - 20Q™ Harry Potter, based on the popular movie and book series.

20Q™ is an artificial intelligence engine, website, company and phenomenon. Originally available only online, the game had players simply think of an animal, vegetable, mineral or other item, and 20Q™ attempted to guess what they were thinking of in twenty questions or less. Each time the online training game is played, 20Q™ "learns."

20Q™ Harry Potter is the most recent edition to the popular handheld game that has been described as "spooky" and "deceptively addictive." Based on the original 20Q™ game that won over millions of players from around the world, 20Q™ Harry Potter asks fans to think of people, places, and things from the books and films. The goal? Try to stump the game's remarkably clever and precise artificial intelligence with knowledge of Harry's wizarding world.

In an effort to develop the game and help "teach" 20Q™ about the world of Harry Potter, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, 20Q.net and Radica are encouraging Harry Potter fans to visit
http://20q.net/ and "train" this timeless game of Twenty Questions. Radica will manufacture and distribute the new 20Q™ Harry Potter game later this year.

Click here to play the game!


Monday, June 04, 2007

Fans Await Harry Potter's Fate As Bookies Bet He's Doomed

U.S. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows front cover artA London-based bookmaker is so sure that Harry Potter will die in the final book that it has stopped accepting wagers and shifted betting to the possible killers. Lord Voldemort is the most likely villain, at 2-1 odds, followed by Professor Snape, at 5-2.


Harry in this week's 'Non Sequitur'

Non Sequitur Comic
Yesterday, comic strip "Non Sequitur" artist Wiley Miller wrapped up a weeklong story involving a former personal injury lawyer's failed attempt to write the next Harry Potter. The week's strips are available at GoComics.com.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

New Interview with Evanna Lynch

Luna attempts her patronus
Harry Latino let us know about a new interview they conducted with actress Evanna Lynch about her upcoming role as Luna Lovegood in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You can read the entire translation of the interview below, however here are a few of the highlights:

And what what about the earrings you are using? Did you made them yourself, like in the movie?

Oh, yes. But J.K.Rowling gave me this one herself [pointing at her silvery necklace with a hare and a moon ("Luna" in Spanish means moon)]

Oh, it's your Patronus!

Yes, the hare! Because in the trailer it seems more like a horse.But that's not mine. I don't know who the horse belongs to, but mine it's the hare, I've seen it.

You can see this Patronus that Evanna is referring to, here in our galleries.


More Details on New Edition of Harry Potter "Scene It?" DVD Game

2nd Ed. Harry Potter Scene It Game Box
Several retailers are now listing the 2nd edition of the Harry Potter "Scene It" DVD game that we first told you about earlier this year. There is some additional information about the deluxe edition of the game at retailer Drugstore.com which says the game will feature "new movie clips from the first four Harry Potter movies, including previously unavailable footage from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, plus questions, puzzlers and images from the 2007 release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." You can also see some images of the playing board and the gamecards of the regular edition of the game from Entertainment Earth. Some additional details about the game are as follows:

Exclusive Trading Cards! Get 4 limited-edition, never-before-released Trading Cards from Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHarry Potter Inspired TokensGame DVD! Loaded with new clips, puzzlers and new characters like Luna Lovegood, Dolores Umbridge and Kingsley Shacklebolt.

We will update with more once the new edition of the Harry Potter Scene It? game becomes available in our Cauldron Shop.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

J.K.Rowling,Emma Watson, and Ralph Fiennes Attend Charity Ball

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and her husband Dr. Neil Murray attended the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Annual Gala Dinner at Hampton Court Palace tonight. Also attending this charity event were actress Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and actor Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort). You can see some early photos from this event here at Getty Images, WENN and Abaca Press. The Daily Mail reports on tonight's events:

A glittering array of guests including Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Tom Stoppard, Sir David Frost, Ralph Fiennes, Steven Berkoff, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon, Minnie Driver, Kim Cattrall, Gillian Anderson, Anna Friel, Sadie Frost, Elle Macpherson and Naomi Campbell were treated to dinner and performances by Elton John and the Scissor Sisters.

Mr Gorbachev, whose wife died of leukaemia in 1999, spoke movingly about how proceeds from the event would be used. He said: "Through the creation of the Raisa Gorbachev Centre of Children's Haematology and Transplantology in St Petersburg, much-needed medical care of an international standard will soon be available.

Our efforts in this project give hope to many sick children and their parents. I call upon both Russian and international organisations and individuals to join us in taking action for this very worthy cause."


Baddabing! It's Tony and Harry and the Final Curtain Call

Newsweek has a very interesting article now online comparing the (fictional) lives of Harry Potter and moss boss Tony Soprano of HBO's award-winning and long running show "The Sopranos." As both series are coming to an end within a few weeks of each other, the magazine takes a look at the two similarities between the very popular characters.

"Most obviously, Tony and Harry are both uneasy protagonists in their respective dramas. Each of them itches inside the confines of his role. Tony is so uncomfortable with the ramifications of his job that he's been seeing a shrink since the series began. Harry is equally uneasy being cast as the designated hitter in the ultimate battle of good and evil against Lord Voldemort. They are, in short, very modern heroes, the kind consumed by self-doubt."

This lengthy article continues to focus on some of the larger moral issues within each of the series.


Friday, June 01, 2007

"Order of the Phoenix" Wins 2007 Trailer Award

Golden Trailer Award
The Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix trailer was named "Summer 2007 Blockbuster" at the 8th Annual Golden Trailer Awards, which honor the best trailers in the film industry. The awards ceremony took place last night in New York City, honor the unique craftsmanship of this art and celebrate the best trailers of the year. You can see the now award-winning trailer for the upcoming film in our own Video Galleries.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in theaters July 11.


Fly the Ford Anglia at New Harry Potter Theme Park?

Harry Potter Theme Park Artist Rendering
There are a few pieces of news tonight regarding the newly announced "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park coming to the Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

First, for those that missed the news before, the HarryPotter/Universal website we told you about the other night is indeed open, and contains a place for fans to register for alerts, the text of the announcement, as well as some detailed FAQs about this park. As we have received many owls on this subject, please note the site specifically says the park may open "late 2009 or early 2010." Also new is an edited version of the webcast announcement (the original here on our Youtube channel), with additional footage of the Dumbledore's office set. You can download this new announcement video via our galleries.

The second piece of news is regarding some of the new features which are rumored to be part of the new Harry Potter section of Universal, specifically some of the rides. Readers will remember several years ago that a blogger named Jim Hill reported the first of the Harry Potter theme park rumors with Disney; tonight Mr. Hill has a new report on what he believes some of the purported new rides are to be, including one involving the Weasley Family car. In response to the "state of the art" attraction mentioned in the Universal announcement, Jim Hill writes the following on what he believes this attraction will be:

A big "E" Ticket attraction. Which -- as you may have already heard -- will be a state-of-the-art family-friendly thrill ride that will then allow IOA guests to first soar through the trees of the Forbidden Forest and then fly high above the grounds of Hogwarts inside of the Weasley family's Ford Anglia. (FYI : This attraction will reportedly be housed inside of the soon-to-be-closed-and-gutted "Eighth Voyage of Sindbad" stunt show theater).

Other intriguing tidbits involve a racing coaster ride, with the piece stating "it's be re-imagined as part of the Tri Wizard Tournament. Where brave wizards do battle with fierce dragons. With the hope that they'll be able to win the Goblet of Fire" Also reportedly we will "get a chance to get a close-up look at the Goblet. Which -- just as it appeared in the "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" film -- will be displayed on an ornate pedestal with magical blue flames licking out of its top."

In addition, Jim Hill reports this about a Hagrid's Hut area: "Take -- for example -- that area's "Flying Unicorn" kiddie coaster. According to what I hear, Universal plans on retheming this area so that you first queue up in the garden outside of Hagrid's cottage. Then -- after wandering through the Care of Magical Creatures teacher's home -- you then get the chance to board the now re-themed "Flying Hippogriff" kiddie coaster."

While this all sounds very exciting, please keep this very much in the rumor category for now.


Scholastic Kicks-Off Their Knight Bus Tour

The Scholastic Knight Bus
To celebrate the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Death Hallows in a few weeks, Scholastic, the U.S. publishers of the Harry Potter books, kicked-off off their Knight Bus tour today in New York City. The bus, parked this morning at Rockefeller Center, will tour the nation visiting 37 libraries where fans can create their own 20-second video to record their thoughts of the series.

You can view a video of the launch below or go
here to view it via HPANA's YouTube page.


Universal To Get Harry Potter Theme Park

Harry Potter theme park artist rendering
ORLANDO, Fla. - Universal Orlando Resort is opening a Harry Potter theme park that will let fans visit many of the iconic locations in the books and movies that endeared the boy magician to millions.

"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" is set to open at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in late 2009, complete with the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade village.

"The plans I've seen look incredibly exciting, and I don't think fans of the books or films will be disappointed," said author J.K. Rowling, who has been working with a creative team to make sure the park resembles the books and films.

More than a dozen artists led by Stuart Craig, the production designer of the movies, have set up house in the studio where the movies are being filmed to make sure every detail is considered, said Scott Trowbridge, vice president of Universal's Creative Studios.

"We're really going to the people who know this world best to ensure that level of authenticity," he said.

The park will let visitors view the famed locations in Rowling's magical world, like Dumbledore's office in Hogwarts and the shops in Hogsmeade. Some locations may be in upcoming books, Trowbridge said.

Tom Williams, chairman of Universal Parks and Resorts, would not release the amount the company is spending on the project, but said it would be "enough to exceed the expectations of millions of Harry Potter fans around the world."

"This will make us a must-see component of somebody's Orlando theme park vacation," Williams said in an interview.

Many tourists outside the theme park said the experience would boost its appeal to a younger audience.

"I'd go to Universal before I would Disney World to go on a Harry Potter ride," said 15-year-old Alex Moran, who was visiting Orlando from Pleasant Hill, Mo.

Brandon Wilson, another 15 year old from Pleasant Hill, said he can't get enough of Harry Potter. He has read every book and watched every movie.

"I hope we get to simulate flying like Harry Potter," Wilson said.

Trowbridge said while there would not be any character lookalikes at the park, fans wanting to see Harry Potter and his magical friends wouldn't leave disappointed.

"This is Harry's world," said Trowbridge. "Most every fan wants to have an encounter with the star of the show."

Harry Potter fans may be motivated to now visit the Universal park, but many of those tourists will also visit Walt Disney World, said Gene Jeffers, executive director of TEA, a theme park industry group based in Burbank, Calif.

"The beauty of Orlando is that people from all over the world visit not because Disney World, Universal or SeaWorld is there, but because they're all there," he said.

About 11 million people visited Universal last year, compared to 45 million for Disney's four parks last year, he said.

The Harry Potter book series has been translated into 65 languages with more than 325 million copies sold in over 200 territories around the world.

The fifth film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," will be released in theaters July 11 by Warner Bros. The seventh and final book of the series will be released July 21.