With a duration of 152 minutes – or more than two and a half hours – was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone anything but a short film. But originally the first Harry Pottermovie even last eighteen minutes longer.
It has been nineteen years since that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out. The film was an instant success, grossing over $ 1 billion ($ 0.84 million) and launching the careers of Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, among others.
One of the main architects of that success is Chris Columbus. He directed the first two films of Harry Potter and thus had the important task of making the successful books shine on the silver screen. In response to his new Netflix movie The Christmas Chronicles 2 the website Collider spoke to him about how things went nineteen years ago.
“The reality is that there was a lot of pressure on us, especially on me. I knew if I screwed this one up, it was all over. You can’t screw up this book. So I had to go to the set every day with some kind of tunnel vision and think about the outside world. Fortunately, that was a lot easier nineteen years ago because the internet was not that big yet, ”he explains.
“Children thought too short, parents too tall”
It wasn’t until the film was first shown to a test audience in Chicago that Columbus knew he had done a good job. “The audience loved it. The film lasted two hours and fifty minutes at the time. The children thought it was too short and the parents thought it was too long ”, he explains.
So in the end they decided to cut out eighteen minutes of footage. Seven minutes of that eventually made it to the extended version which came out in 2009.