It’s been nearly two decades since J.K. Rowling’s popular book series became a film franchise. Audiences got their first taste of what would become a string of iconic movies when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone hit theaters. Revisit the beginning of the wizarding world of Harry Potter with photos from the premiere of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

‘Harry Potter’ film franchise began in 2001

When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone hit shelves in 1997 Rowling and The Boy Who Lived became famous. Harry Potter’s popularity only grew as the author continued to release installments in the series. 

By the early 2000s, talk of a movie series began. At one time Steven Spielberg considered directing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He even worked on the project for a few months before backing out because as later said, he wasn’t ready to make a kids movie or devote years to one single project. 

Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire) replaced Spielberg as director. He brought Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and the rest of the wizarding world to life.

Columbus directed Radcliffe as the title character and Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as his best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Radcliffe was only 11 when he booked the role of Harry and 12 when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone hit theaters on Nov. 14, 2001. 

Immediately the film became a success. On opening weekend in the U.S., the film made $90 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Worldwide Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone earned upwards of $1 billion. 

The ‘Harry Potter’ cast grew up with their characters

As Harry, Ron, and Hermione fought Voldemort, got into trouble exploring Hogwarts, and came into their own, so did Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson. Child stars because of the Harry Potter movies, over the years they became young adults alongside their characters.

The trio, as well as the rest of the franchise’s young cast members, spent their adolescence inside the magical world created by Rowling. 

After eight movies, each one more popular than the last, the Harry Potter movies came to an end. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II marked the final installment of the franchise when it hit theaters in July 2011.

Compared to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the franchise had come a long way, just like the actors and the characters they portrayed. The movies went from PG to PG-13 and became decidedly darker as the franchise progressed. 

Where are Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe now? 

Nearly 10 years since the last Harry Potter movie and the franchise’s popularity is just as strong. While the actors have moved on to other projects they’re still known for the roles that defined their childhood.

Watson, after taking time off from acting to attend college, is now 30 years old having starred in a number of successful films. Most recently, she starred in Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation of Little Women.

As for Radcliffe, he continues to act but none have eclipsed the success of Harry Potter. Grint also continued his acting career doing both film and television.

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