"Harry Potter" Movie Facts

by Melinda Hill Mendoza

The "Harry Potter" movies, based on the books by J.K. Rowling, have been extremely successful, breaking sales records with nearly every release. Six of the seven movies released as of June 2011 are in the top 20 grossing films of all time, taking in $2 billion combined. The films have been released almost annually, with seven from 2001 through 2010 and the eighth being released in July 2011. From head lice to casting choices, the filming was almost as interesting as the movies themselves, and each movie has a behind-the-scenes story.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was filmed entirely in the United Kingdom on a $125 million budget. It was released in November 2001 and grossed more than $976 million worldwide. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is also known as "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" outside the United States. This meant every scene that mentioned the sorcerer's stone had to be filmed twice: once with "sorcerer's" and once with "philosopher's." Rowling was heavily involved in the movie: vetoing the idea of an animated version, writing the flashbacks for Voldemort killing Harry's parents, and handpicking Robbie Coltrane to play Hagrid, and Alan Rickman to play Severus Snape.

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was released in November 2002. It had a budget of $100 million and was filmed entirely in the United Kingdom. It grossed over $876 million worldwide. Dobby, the house elf, was played by a ball on a stick during production. The digital version of Dobby was added in postproduction. Filming was sometimes an uncomfortable experience; nurses were called in because the young actors had head lice. Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, was uncomfortable with a scene that involved her hugging Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) in front of the whole crew; the scene was changed so that she hugs Harry, then shakes Ron's hand.

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was released in June 2004. It was filmed in the United Kingdom with a budget of $130 million. It grossed more than $761 million worldwide. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was both the first Potter movie to be released in the IMAX format, and the last to be released in VHS. Sirius Black, the prisoner from the title of the movie, has tattoos on his body and hands. The idea of the tattoos is borrowed from Russian prison gangs, which use tattoos to convey status.

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was released in November 2005 and went on to gross $895 million. It was filmed in the United Kingdom on a budget of $150 million. Robert Pattinson, who later starred in "Twilight," plays Cedric Diggory, Harry's main competition during the Triwizard Tournament. One of the challenges in the tournament was being underwater; Daniel Radcliffe logged more than 41 hours underwater while filming those scenes. This is also Ralph Fiennes' first appearance in the series as Voldemort.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was released in July 2007 and grossed $938 million. It was filmed in the United Kingdom and Turkey on a budget of $150 million. Evanna Lynch, who plays the delightfully eccentric Luna Lovegood, beat out 15,000 actresses for the role. Evanna also made the radish earrings that Luna wears during the film. This is the shortest movie of the "Harry Potter" series, although it's based on the longest book of the series.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was released in July 2009 and grossed $301 million. It was filmed in Norway and the United Kingdom on a budget of $250 million. A major plot point of this installment of the series involves Dumbledore revealing memories of a young Voldemort to Harry. Young Voldemort is played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin -- nephew of actor Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort. This film contains the first full quidditch game since "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (Parts I and II)

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I" was released in November 2010. It was filmed in Germany and the United Kingdom on a budget of $240 million and grossed almost $300 million worldwide. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II" was scheduled to open July 15, 2011. "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows" was originally going to be one movie; Warner Bros. executives decided to split it into two films after it was shot. More than 500 wands were used for filming; all had to be checked out and checked back in after use. Part I is the first film of the series to credit Rowling as a producer. Part II is the only Potter film released in 3-D in its entirety (other films had selected scenes in 3-D).