Such is the spellbinding power at the box office of Harry Potter, that eight films are required to retell the tale of our wizard hero, the central character in seven bestselling children’s novels.
Previously, one novel equalled one movie, but the final instalment of the Potter saga is of such breadth, that its producers believe it would be an injustice to attempt to sub it down.
Instead, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be a tale of two halves, with the first film slated for release in November 2010, and part two in May 2011. This has been confirmed by Warner Bros after producer David Heyman admitted it was impossible to cram Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows’ 608 pages into a single movie.
“You cannot remove elements of this book,” he told the Los Angeles Times, adding that the decision was “born out of purely creative reasons”.
Star Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, told the Los Angeles Times that splitting JK Rowling’s final book in two was the only sensible option for the filmmakers.
“There have been compartmentalised subplots in the other books that have made them easier to cut — although those cuts were still to the horror of some fans,” he told the paper.
“The seventh book doesn’t really have any subplots. It’s one driving, pounding story from the word go.”
In the past, key scenes, including Quidditch matches, a form of airborne baseball, were missing from the film adaptations.
In a statement, Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros, said that the split release was “the best way to do the book, and its many fans, justice”.
It will also have the benefit of boosting the gold in the vaults of Gringotts Bank, or, in the world of us muggles, profits at the film studio.
The first five movies have made $4.5 billion (€2.9bn) worldwide — making it the biggest film franchise in box office history.
Filming for the sixth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, began in September last year.
It is being directed by David Yates, who will also direct the final two films.
“I consider it a great privilege to continue to bring Jo’s [author JK Rowling] extraordinary world to the screen, and to be the director to complete this epic and exhilarating journey,” he said.
The two final “Potter” films will be shot concurrently.