Harry Potter vanquishes the big delay

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As the stars of the latest Harry Potter film posed for the cameras in London's Leicester Square tonight, leaders of the British entertainment industry said it could soon become the most successful film yet in a franchise which is already the most valuable in box office history.



The first five instalments have grossed almost $4.5bn (£2.7bn) in box office sales, outstripping both James Bond and Star Wars, and after being delayed for eight months Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince looks set to boost the Warner Bros coffers still further.

Justin Johnson of the British Film Institute said the film had already generated an "unprecedented" level of interest, with more than £215,000 worth of advance tickets already sold for the first month of screenings at the IMAX in London. It seems certain to overtake the previous film in the series, which took just over £400,000 at the IMAX.

He predicted that the final few films in the series were likely to be the most successful of all, due to the "snowball effect" of the franchise and its ability to suck in more and more followers the longer it continues.

"You can't help but think that this film could be an absolute smash," he said. "There's a whole generation of people now who've been brought up reading the books and watching the films, and as it goes on more people are tempted to start at the beginning and follow the series all the way through. It's just impossible to ignore Harry Potter really."

Rupert Gavin, the CEO of Odeon cinemas, said the excitement and anticipation surrounding the film was "very high" and that he expected it to build on the success of the previous instalments.

Producers Warner Bros have certainly pulled out all the stops this time around. The film's budget was $250m (£154m), double the amount spent making the first film, and the company has reportedly channelled a further $155m (£96m) into marketing and distribution.

The hype surrounding any Harry Potter film is huge, but fans' expectations for The Half-Blood Prince were raised even further by Warner Bros' decision to push its release date back by eight months. It was originally due to reach cinemas in November last year, but the company postponed it until this summer in the hope that children would be tempted to see it multiple times during the holidays.

In a statement released last August, Warner Bros' president and chief operating officer Alan Horn admitted that the decision had been taken to allow the company to make as much money as possible from the film, describing the summer season "an ideal window for a family tent pole release".

The company also felt that separating the film's release date from The Dark Knight, another of its huge blockbusters, made good business sense. It is hoping to repeat the success of the previous film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was released in July 2007 and made more than £578m at the box office – almost as much as the first film, which grossed more than £600m and is still the franchise's most successful.

The decision did not prove popular with the film's director David Yates, who admitted in a recent interview that the delay was met with a "huge sense of disappointment" on set.

"It was not something I warmed to initially," he said. "At the time, I was so adrenalised, I was so caught up in the process of getting the film in on deadline and making the movie on a certain schedule, and then the decision to delay was a huge anticlimax. There was a huge sense of disappointment, I must say."

The announcement, which came just two weeks after the film's trailer was released, also sparked anger among the series' huge army of young fans, who began to send executives at Warner Bros hate mail voicing their disgust. One reportedly wrote: "I hope you choke on your own saliva."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent