After a brief lull following the explosive July publication of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — the sixth novel in the young wizard’s saga of good, evil, friendship, magic and funny names — Pottermania is set to return with the impending November 18th release of the fourth of the film series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which had its world premiere last night at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.
Video, photos, interviews and more from the premiere are available here.
Goblet of Fire arrives not a moment too soon: my almost-2-year-old and 6-year-old play at least a portion of one of the first three films — which have generated a combined $3.7 billion dollars thus far for film studio Warner Brothers — virtually every day of the week – fresh bood is required.
The new film (clips and trailers here), directed by Mike Newell, finds the boy wizard, played by Daniel Radcliffe, “mysteriously” selected to compete in the prestigious Triwizard Tournament against older students from Hogwarts and two rival schools from Europe. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint return as Harry’s classmates and fast friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively. Michael Gambon is in his second film as Dumbledore after replacing the late Richard Harris, Maggie Smith returns as McGonagall, and Robbie Coltrane is back as gentle giant Hagrid.
Ralph Fiennes plays archvillain Lord Voldemort, fully manifest for the first time in the series, while Miranda Richardson appears as gossip columnist Rita Skeeter. Harry also snags his first love interest in the form of fellow Hogwarts pupil Cho Chang (Katie Leung).
The film, at 157 minutes the second-longest in the series (three minutes shorter than Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), has been rated PG-13 in the U.S. and 12A — meaning children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult, due to what classifiers called “more intense scenes” — in the U.K. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) decided the film contained “moderate fantasy violence, threat and horror.”
On the book front, it was announced last month that more than 300 million copies of Rowling’s six Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide, translated into 63 languages. More than a third of all the books have been sold in the United States.