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Will this Harry Potter film join the billionaire club?

Last updated on: September 8, 2010 15:24 IST

Will this Harry Potter film join the billionaire club?

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Arthur J Pais in New York

The most anticipated film this fall won't be in theaters across most of the world till November 19, but the buzz around Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- the first installment of the two-film adaptation of the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series -- is already enormous.

There is speculation that it could become the first Harry Potter film to join the billionaire club and the third this year after Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story 3. Last year, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince grossed $934 million worldwide.


Image: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer

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Distubring scenes

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Each new Harry Potter movie, based on J K Rowling's novels, has turned out to be darker than its predecessor. The new one, directed by David Yates (who made the previous two Harry Potter films and is completing the next and last film in the series), adds even darker and violent scenes to the plot.

Daniel Radcliff, who plays Harry Potter, recently told the British magazine Empire that he expected certain scenes in the final movies to disturb some audiences.

'Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) does absolutely kick six bells out of me, and that's what makes it effective, the fact that Harry's a kid having the crap beaten out of him,' he said. 'If it's Voldemort killing an adult -- well, he does that loads in the films -- (but) to see him brutalizing and desperately trying to kill a 17-year-old boy is hopefully going to shake some people up.'


Image: A scene from Harry Potter

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Still on the run

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The film, costing over $150 million, follows Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) as they search for the pieces of Voldemort's soul hidden in many places.

Voldemort will remain immortal if they cannot destroy the soul. Out of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and its security, the three are on the run from Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Despite their long friendship, the mission is threatened by dark forces, romantic tensions and secrets that cannot be ignored.

Much of the novel's appeal comes from the plot twists, detailing how the trio deals with inner demons while confronting Voldemort. The novel sold over 11 million copies in 24 hours after its publication in 2007, making it the fastest-selling book in history, according to Entertainment Weekly.


Image: A scene from Harry Potter

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Double the joy

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Warner Bros, which had a good summer this year with Inception (heading for $750 million worldwide), will release Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows July 15 next year.

Their decision to split the final book into two movies has garnered criticism from many fans, who said the integrity of the novel would be lost to corporate greed. But Yates and Warner Bros have insisted that the choice was made for creative reasons -- to be as faithful to the books as possible.

'There's no question that Warner Bros will make more money with two films than they would have with one,' Alan Horn, president, Warner Bros Entertainment, told the Entertainment Weekly this month. 'But we also never, ever would have done this if Jo Rowling had not endorsed it, and if we didn't feel that we were providing a better finale, with a more full sense of closure.'

Radcliffe told a wire service last month that he too campaigned for two films out of the novel. Unlike the earlier books, which had secondary plot lines that could be omitted, Deathly Hallows had few details to drop, he said.


Image: A scene from Harry Potter

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Going political

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A sneak preview of the film was held a few weeks ago in Chicago, and the buzz is that it was ecstatically received. Some say this is a very political film.

'The allusions to Voldemort's reign and Nazi Germany were fairly clear in the book,' wrote EW. 'But David Yates made them much clearer in the film.'

The six Harry Potter movies have earned more than $5.4 billion worldwide in theaters, making it the highest-grossing global franchise in movie history. In addition, they have reportedly grossed over $6 billion in ancillary sales.


Image: A scene from Harry Potter

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