While Harry Potter fans digest the news about J.K. Rowling’s newly unveiled “Pottermore” Web site (the details and scope of which are still unknown), another, long-anticipated event looms on the horizon: the film release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. Based on the seventh and final book in Rowling’s bestselling series, the Warner Bros. film premieres in IMAX, 3D, and 2D on July 15; it follows the November 2010 film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One, which grossed just over $295 million in the U.S., and was the fifth highest grossing film of the year, just behind The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Total worldwide box office for Part One: $954 million.
The film is directed by David Yates, who directed the first Deathly Hallows installment as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Producer David Heyman again teams up with David Barron and Rowling for the final film. Part two pitches Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rubert Grint) against Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), in their effort to find and annihilate the remaining Horcruxes, which contain pieces of Voldemort’s soul. Other returning cast members include Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange; John Hurt as Mr. Ollivander; and Gary Oldman as Sirius Black.
As the trailer for the film indicates, Potter devotees should expect riveting battles, striking special effects, as well as the themes of darkness and coming-of-age that have become mainstays of the series. Though viewers may shed a few tears as the final film brings the chronicle to a close, the well-timed announcement of “Pottermore” should assure fans that Rowling has more tricks up her sleeves.
On the publishing side, Scholastic is releasing two movie tie-in titles this month: The World of Harry Potter, a keepsake paper-over-board book with more than 100 pages of pictures, which centers on each character’s development throughout the films; and a behind-the-scenes Harry Potter Movie Magic Handbook. A Lego Harry Potter Sticker Book,based on the Nintendo Wii game, also pubs this month. Additionally, Scholastic’s Web site offers a multitude of Harry Potter activities and resources, including a kit to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday, which is July 31. And of course, all seven of Rowling’s Harry Potter books remain available in hardcover and paperback: the films may be coming to an end, but for younger readers discovering the series for the first time, this is only the beginning.