The Economist on Economy of Harry Potter; Deathly Hallows Filming Ends in May

Dec 19, 2009

Posted by: EdwardTLC

DH Film

Business and world finance magazine The Economist has published a lengthy profile on the varied ways in which the Harry Potter series by author J. K. Rowing as impacted on the financial and business markets over the past twelve years. In this article, the successes of the series are examined, along with many of their particular economic effects. Of interest are comments made by Harry Potter film producer David Heyman, who relates that filming for the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will wrap up in May. Comparing job losses in traditional industry to the those which will be felt once the final installments of Harry Potter wraps filming, Mr. Heyman is quoted as saying, “People talk about the effect of factories closing… when we stop filming next May, at least 800 people will be looking for work.” Readers will recall earlier in the month an MTV article, in which actor Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) was interviewed, reported that filming for the final films had been extended until June of 2010.

The Economist piece goes on to detail the multifaceted growth of the Harry Potter franchise as the popularity of the books expanded, films were produced, and plans made for theme parks. Discussion of the Harry Potter films continues with an examination of the processes by which the films were made. Quoteage:

Instead of A-listers the films feature hitherto obscure child actors and British theatrical talent. Perhaps the biggest star is Alan Rickman, previously known to American cinema-goers (if at all) as the villain in “Die Hard”. Over time they have faded neither commercially nor artistically. If anything the reverse is true. After the first two films the Harry Potter franchise was handed to non-American directors more associated with independent film and television. Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell and David Yates have been given a good deal of autonomy by Warner Bros.

In Harry Potter’s case, creative experimentation is possible because of the rigorous control exerted over many aspects of the production. The team that has worked on the Harry Potter films is unusually stable. Mr Heyman and the lead designers have stayed put throughout. All but one of the screenplays have been written by Steve Kloves. Stimulated by a steady supply of complex work, local outfits like Double Negative and the Moving Picture Company have grown in competence and can now handle just about all the films’ special-effects needs. Even more unusually, some sets have been allowed to remain in Leavesden Studios for almost ten years. As Mr Heyman puts it, directors may shoot the action from different angles but they are filming the same Hogwarts. It is as though the auteur tradition has been fused with the industrial approach to film-making that was common practice in Hollywood before the war.

The publishing side of the Harry Potter economic story is also profiled in this article, with Publisher Nigel Newton speaking towards Bloomsbury’s acquisition of the novels, and eventual successes. The creation of a Harry Potter industry is further examined with looks at the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Studios, Orlando; series of toys, games, and collectible merchandise; and fan communities that have formed around the novels.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One is set for a November 2010 release, while Part Two will arrive in theaters in July 2011.

Many thanks Amanda!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.