Tears in Trafalgar Square as Harry Potter hangs up his wand
Friday 08 July 2011
It wasn't just the fans camped in Trafalgar Square who shed a tearful goodbye to the boy wizard. The premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 marked the end of a £2bn spell cast over the UK film industry.
From distinguished thespians to producers, special-effects experts, technicians and caterers, the Warner Bros franchise has kept the infrastructure of the national film industry in gainful employment for a decade.
The credits for the final film, produced at Leavesden Studios in Watford, list more than 1,100 names.
Warner Bros estimates that it spent about £2bn making films in Britain during the Potter decade, which generated eight instalments.
Described as "the biggest windfall in the history of the British film industry" by the UK Film Council, now axed under the Coalition's cuts, the end of the Potter cycle means uncertain times for a national movie business living in Hollywood's shadow.
Warner Bros has expressed its confidence in Britain as a production base by committing to invest £100m to expand Leavesden, a former Rolls-Royce factory.
The 170-acre site will be redeveloped to include a Harry Potter theme park, new sound stages and prosthetics, and animatronics workshops, which could generate 1,500 jobs.
Despite a squeeze on box office spending, the UK film industry is optimistic. Tax breaks, an improvement in post-production facilities and the continued glow from the Oscar-winning King's Speech mean that inward investment in the industry is tipped to exceed £1bn for the first time this year.
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London, said: "The Potter cycle has ended but they have left a golden legacy in the crews we have developed and the investment in post-production skills and special effects.
"Warners is shooting the new Batman and Sherlock Holmes films here and we are using the Potter films as a sales tool to encourage Disney, Fox and the other studios to make movies here."
The UK tourism industry will also hope for a new franchise to replace a series which brought record visitor numbers to locations such as Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, the screen Hogwarts.
In Trafalgar Square, thousands of fans who had braved days and nights of rain to camp out in the hope of meeting the film's stars were rewarded with a break in the weather last night.
Some had travelled from as far as Argentina and Australia, and screamed as Rupert Grint arrived first before walking the mile-long red carpet to Leicester Square, where the premiere was screened.
Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, said it was "emotional" arriving to see the final film. Fans waved placards reading "Potter 'til I die" and "Harry Potter is over. See you in therapy".
Potter in numbers
£2bn Estimated spending in the British film industry by Warner Bros after eight films.
£604m Box office takings of the first, and most profitable film, The Philosopher's Stone, released in 2001.
£42m The fortune that Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe is said to have amassed, still only aged 21.
arts + entsThere were towering ideas, some scintillating performances and revelatory grooves... our writers pick out their personal highlights
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
peoplePrepare to be entranced by worms as the molecular biologist gets ready to give the Royal Institution science lectures
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
voicesPeople moan that Christmas is too commercial, the spirit lost. But it is a time to over-indulge, and always has been, says DJ Taylor
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
food + drinkA trifle without custard? Surely not! Nonsense – and here’s three to finish your festive meal that prove it
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >