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Release Date: June 4th, 2004 (super-wide)

Release Date Note: (5/26/03) This movie has been slated for June, 2004 for about a year now, but only now do we know the specific date... June 4th. Another family-friendly movie, Garfield, had already lain claim to that date, but I expect the orange kitty movie will be padding off to another location to avoid the box office behemoth that is a new Harry Potter movie. Early June is not the first date that I would have predicted for this movie, but with a movie this huge, Warner Bros. really could have put it on any summer spot, and done very well. This date pretty much puts the whole rest of June on notice... watch out for the kid with the thick glasses.

MPAA Rating: PG (for frightening moments, creature violence and mild language)

IMAX Release Date: June 4th, 2004

Running Time Note: (2/16/04) Director Alfonso Cuaron was recently quoted as saying that this will be the shortest 'Harry Potter' movie thus far, coming in at under 150 minutes (less than two and a half hours).

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), David Thewlis (Professor Remis Lupin), Emma Thompson (Professor Sibyll Trelawney), Peter Best (MacNair), David Bradley (Argus Filch), Julie Christie (Madam Rosmerta), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Emily Dale (Katie Bell), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Alfie Enoch (Dean Thomas), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Pam Ferris (Aunt Marge), Dawn French (The Fat Lady), Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore), Jimmy Gardner (Ernie Prang), Richard Griffiths (Uncle Dursley), Joshua Herdman (Gregory Goyle), Lee Ingleby (Stan Shunpike), Matt Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Hugh Mitchell (Colin Creevey), Devon Murray (Seamus Finnigan), Katharine Nicholson (Pansy Parkinson), Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley), Alan Rickman (Professor Snape), Fiona Shaw (Aunt Petunia), Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall), Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew), Jim Tavare (Tom, the Leaky Cauldron Innkeeper), Danielle Taylor (Angelina Johnson), Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley), Jamie Waylett (Vincent Crabbe), Paul Whitehouse (Sir Cadogan), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Luke Youngblood (Lee Jordan)

Cast Notes: (10/28/02) Two-time Oscar nominee Richard Harris, who played Professor Dumbledore in the first two films, died Friday after a long bout with Hodgkins Disease (a form of cancer). Because the two films were shot so closely together, the 'Harry Potter' cast and crew essentially were a huge part of the last two years of his life, and they will miss him, I'm sure, as will many cineastes. The question now is... who can they possibly find to replace him? Just off the top of my head, two likely choices might be Peter O'Toole or Terence Stamp (both of whom, like Harris, were part of the wave of British actors in the 1950s/1960s called the "Angry Young Men"). I *would* say Christopher Lee, but I'm not sure he'll be wanting to play another wizard so soon after playing Saruman in the LOTR trilogy. (12/10/02) Army Archerd of "Variety" has quoted Christopher Lee as saying any reports that he would replace Harris are "totally rumors." (12/30/02) MuggleNet.com reports that Korean singer Kwon Boa may be in talks to play Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw Quidditch player that Harry falls for. The bigger news today, however, is the scoop that E! Online has secured... it's Michael Gambon who will be replacing Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore! (1/8/03) Hmmm... TV Guide reported this week that WB is denying the Michael Gambon news. Was E! all wet, or is the studio just not ready to confirm? The bigger casting news today is the confirmation from the Hollywood Reporter that Gary Oldman has signed on to play Sirius Black in this film and 'Goblet of Fire' (HP4). Given Oldman's penchant for playing bad guys... this is hardly surprising. (1/14/03) The latest issue confirms that Gambon is in talks. (9/28/03) John Cleese won't be making an appearance as Nearly-Headless Nick around this time, but he will be the fourth time around.

Other Characters: (9/13/01) Thanks to The Harry Potter Galleries, here's a list of characters not in the first two films that are likely to be added to this third film (with rumored possibilities in parentheses): Sirius Black (Jeff Hordley?), Sir Cadogan, Cho Chang, Cedric Diggory, Marjorie Dursley, Remus Lupin (Christian Bale? or Ronan Vibert?), Walden Macnair, Madam Marsh, Peter Pettigrew, Ernie Prang, Madam Rosmerta, Stan Shunpike, Tom the Innkeeper, and Sibyll Trelawney. (9/28/01) Dark Horizons reports that Christian Bale's agent has denied the Sirius Black rumor. (3/14/02) Coming Soon reports that Ewan McGregor is now a top choice to play Professor Remus Lupin. (1/8/03) The role of Sirius Black has gone to Gary Oldman. (1/16/03) AICN reports that Timothy Spall has signed on to play Peter Pettigrew. (2/3/03) Several sources have confirmed that the role of Remus Lupin has gone to British actor David Thewlis, who's best known for gritty not-for-kids roles in movies like Naked and Gangster No. 1. (4/16/03) Talking to CBBC News, producer David Heyman revealed that Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw Quidditch player that Harry falls for, may not be included in this movie, as Quidditch in general isn't making the cut this time around. If she is indeed excluded... expect Cho to show up in the Goblet of Fire movie for sure. (6/15/03) To follow up on that last note, it's been confirmed that Cho Chang will definitely not be showing up this time around. (8/19/03) As a follow-up, there will indeed be *some* Quidditch in the film. As readers of the book know, there is a crucial Quidditch scene involving the Dementors, so it makes sense that Quidditch *had* to show up at least that one time. (10/10/03) The last major role has been filled with confirmation that Emma Thompson will be playing Sibyll Trelawney, Professor of Divination.

Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Great Expectations, A Little Princess; also has The Children of Men in development)

Director Notes: (9/20/01) Talking to the U.K. Telegraph last week, Steven Spielberg, who had been the top choice for the first film, made this very interesting comment, "That first story didn't touch me creatively. Now the third Harry Potter book... it's pure genius! Much darker, more esoteric and interesting to me personally. If they'd offered me that, I'd have said yes... that's right, you never know." So, that's not a confirmed "yes", but it is a definite maybe. Spielberg recently wrapped Minority Report with Tom Cruise, is next working on Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio, and if he signed on, this would then be his next after that film. (10/22/01) According to Dark Horizons, WB CEO Alan Horn told a film class at UCSB that the offer Spielberg mentions above might not be forthcoming, preferring to stick with the "process" that they're currently using, rather than changing. So, does that mean that Columbus is aboard for the loooonnnggg haul for all 7 books? (6/4/02) Nope. Variety reported last week that Columbus will be leaving the series after #2, with WB looking at several different directors who have shown they can work with children, including Alfonso Cuaron, whose films have varied from the 1995 family film, "A Little Princess", to this year's Mexican erotic hit, "Y Tu Mama Tambien". Cuaron is the frontrunner, but other candidates are Callie Khouri (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which did feature child actors in the form of the elderly women when they were young) and Kenneth Branagh, who hasn't really worked with children that much as a director, but his resume of contemporizing Shakespeare classics like "Henry V" and "Hamlet" seems to give him an unique qualification (not that J.K. Rowling is comparable to Shakespeare, of course :).

Screenwriter: Steven Kloves (Wonder Boys, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Racing with the Moon, The Fabulous Baker Boys; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; he's likely to start working on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire soon)

Based Upon: The third book in the popular series of children's books by J.K. Rowling, following Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Next up will be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (in 2005 or 2006) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (in 2006 or 2007?).

Premise Notes: (3/23/03) The recent news that the actors, Sean Bigglestaff and Jamie Yeates, who play Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch captains Oliver Wood and Flint, aren't going to be in this film suggests that the Quidditch sequences in the book might not be appearing in this movie at all. In a way, if this is true, it wouldn't be that surprising, as the book is massive and it's a sure thing that a lot will have to be either cut out or thinned down considerably to keep the movie under three hours.

Premise: Starting during the summer before Harry's third year at Hogwarts, this is the adventure that happens when he has to go on the run after an incident where he was unable to control his anger... getting on a bus, he hears about Sirius Black, a renegade wizard who was a Prisoner at Azkaban. What Harry doesn't suspect is that Black escaped to look for... him.

The Other Movies: (9/20/01) The current sequel status is that WB has the rights to the first four books, and if the series (of films) continues to be successful, could make as many as 7 movies to match the total of 7 books J.K. Rowling has planned. At the time of this writing, there are four Harry Potter books. In order, they are: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The fifth book is expected sometime in 2002. (10/22/01) Dark Horizons reports that WB CEO Alan Horn told a film class at UCSB that Goblet of Fire may have to be split into two films because of its length. (4/17/02) Entertainment Weekly reports that the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is tentatively expected in late 2002 (depending upon whether Rowling finishes it). (6/4/02) Variety reported this week that the fifth book is now not expected until June, 2003. (11/12/02) The fifth book is now expected to start in March or April, 2003. (12/29/02) There are now rumors that the release of the book will actually be sometime later in the summer after Memorial Day (maybe in June or July?). (1/16/03) Indeed. The official publication date of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is June 21st, 2003. (3/23/03) The preview pages for the next two movies, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005 or 2006) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2006 or 2007?), are now up.

Filming: Production started on February 21st, 2003 in and around London and at the Leavesden Studios. There is an obvious time factor for this series that is being considered, as Radcliffe, Grint, Watson and the other child actors will continue to age past the age of the characters if the sequels aren't filmed promptly; but also, there are other matters to consider (like the time it takes to make an epic of this scale). One of the other locations was Glencoe, Scotland. Principal production wrapped up in late October, 2003.

Genre: Action, Based on a Book, British, Eye Candy, Fantasy, Kids, Sequel, Supernatural, Teen

Unofficial Novel Reading Guide: SparkNotes.com

Oodles of Websites: Yahoo! Directory (There are simply too many websites for Harry Potter for me to list them all, so I'll refer you to this directory).

Official Book Site: Scholastic.com

Articles About This Series: Yahoo! Full Coverage

Unofficial Preview Page: IGN FilmForce

Photo Gallery: ComingSoon.net

Watch the Teaser Trailer: Yahoo! Movies

Official Series Site: HarryPotter.WarnerBros.com

Official Site: Azkaban.com

Message Board: Share your thoughts on our "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)" Message Board

Input about Greg's Previews of upcoming Movies, or any movie covered here, is encouraged. Just e-mail Greg Dean Schmitz using our feedback form. Please note that all release dates are subject to change.

Greg's Previews Main Page

Recent Updates to This Page:
4/20/04 - MPAA Rating
4/14/04 - Greg's Preview Thoughts
2/18/04 - Greg's Preview Thoughts

Greg's Preview Thoughts:
Sort: By Most Recent | Chronologically

4/14/04 - There are a couple of different trailers online now, but if you want to *really* see a good chunk of the movie, the day you need to put on your calendar is May 9th, 2004. On that day, ABC will air a 10-minute sneak of the movie during their airing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. My hunch is that this "10 minute sneak" may not actually feature a full ten minutes from the movie, but we should get at least a few minutes of clips.

2/18/04 - A new teaser trailer, which *might* be intended for British audiences only (because it came from a BBC TV show), is now online at HPANA.com. This teaser is also a bit like a longer version of the 30-second TV ad that aired during the Super Bowl. It lacks the "Something Wicked This Way Comes" song that made the first teaser so great, but the darkness and improved visuals all around are still on display. Alfonso Cuaron's 'Azkaban' appears to be the movie that shatters expectations about what the 'Potter' movies look like, post-Columbus.

1/08/04 - The British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, recently landed the first image of Buckbeak the hippogriff (half eagle/half horse).

11/13/03 - The first teaser trailer, which will make its debut in theaters tomorrow attached to Warner Bros' Looney Tunes: Back in Action, is now online here at Yahoo! Movies. Whereas the first two books/movies seemed to take place too much within the confines of Hogwart's (the building), the third book send Harry and friends out and about much more, and we certainly get that sort of vibe from this teaser, which is absolutely wintry. I have a feeling that this was done to match the season in which the teaser was released; the movie as a whole probably has other seasons represented. Visually, you can really sense the differences as the series shifts from Chris Columbus to Alfonso Cuaron. Cuaron's version of 'Harry Potter' seems to be more heavily influenced by the films of Tim Burton than Columbus' interpretations. The addition of the choir singing a song with the teaser's tagline of "Something wicked this way comes" (paraphrasing "MacBeth") was an unexpected nice touch; I don't remember such a song being in the book. The biggest tease in this is the closing shot of one of the Dementors, but given how early in the postproduction this movie is in, much more than that one shot of a Dementor hand probably isn't done yet. A nice teaser though.

10/10/03 - Huh. I guess there's a *lot* of wispy British actresses who could play Professor Trelawney. I had overlooked one of the more obvious ones I guess: Emma Thompson, who has landed the role.

8/21/03 - There's still a month to go on filming, and it appears that the scenes involving Professor Trelawney will be among the last, because the role has yet not been announced as cast. Since it's becoming *such* a mystery, I thought I would throw out the name of an actress whom I think would be great in the role: Lesley Manville. There were rumors earlier this summer that Tilda Swinton was in talks for the role, but they were quickly debunked. I chose Manville because she is a great actress (see All or Nothing, which also stars Timothy Spall who is in this movie) who has the thin, almost otherworldly look that Rawling describes in the book. We should know very soon who actually landed the role.

3/23/03 - (3/23/03) The preview pages for the next two adaptations, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005 or 2006) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2006 or 2007?), are now posted for your persual.

12/30/02 - Well, online fans (and the British tabloid press) have had their fun throwing out lots of different elderly actors that could be replacing Richard Harris, but it's E! Online that finally got the true scoop... the job is going to Michael Gambon! Michael Gambon is a veteran British actor who long made his way up through the ranks in British TV and cinema as a supporting actor, and has only recently begun to cross over into higher profile roles like the recent "lead" (if there was one) in Robert Altman's Gosford Park. He also had a memorable role in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. His career high to date however was probably on television, playing the starring role in the original mini-series, The Singing Detective, that has recently been remade as a feature film starring Robert Downey Jr.

12/10/02 - Army Archerd of "Variety" asked Lee about the role, and the actor said any such reports (including the one mentioned above) are "totally rumors."

10/29/02 - I don't think Harris has had his funeral yet, and the rumor mill is already churning. The British tabloid, The Sun claims the role of Dumbledore has gone to Christopher Lee, but since they offer no hard source, and they're... oh, I don't know, a *tabloid*, it's very likely their story could be debunked soon. With entertainment casting news, it's important to have sources confirmed, etc. Otherwise, it's just puffs of smoke.

10/28/02 - Acclaimed and iconic British actor Richard Harris died Friday, just months after finishing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (with the help of a stand-in in some scenes). Harris had always said that he wasn't sure he wanted to commit to doing all of the films, and sadly, it turns out he was right. The question now is... who will take on the role next? One route might be to go with an unknown who would nearly mimic Harris, but I'm guessing they will go with another esteemed actor of Harris' generation. My two guesses at this point are either Peter O'Toole or Terence Stamp. Both are gaunt and aged (enough), and most importantly, have the stature and demeanor to play a wise old wizard. Two more obvious choices might be Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee, but I think they're unlikely to make the jump from one fantasy epic to another. O'Toole and Stamp just seem more likely, more ready for a role like Dumbledore in their careers, and most importantly, both were good friends of Harris... they all came up together, basically (though Stamp was the younger of the bunch). Time will tell if I'm guessing right.

9/27/02 - Although the notice didn't come with any specific casting requests, roles being sought, etc., I just got a note from Warner Bros., asking me to tell all the HP fans out there that there will be a new casting agent for this movie, for you to send "casting enquiries" to, if you think you'd be perfect for one of the new Book 3 roles, I guess. Send those enquiries to:

Jina Jay, Leavesden Studio
P.O. Box 322
Walford, England, WD25-7XJ

7/22/02 - Warner Bros. has confirmed Alfonso Cuaron as director, with filming starting in early 2003 for a release in the summer of 2004.

6/04/02 - The big news on this third film this week was the confirmation that Chris Columbus won't be returning after directing the first two, with word that Warner Bros. is considering several directors of wildly different backgrounds for the job. Kenneth Branagh is probably my personal favorite, if only because I respect what he's done bringing the works of Shakespeare to film, and it would seem to make sense since he's already appearing in the second film as an actor (so he would have a familiarity with the cast and crew).

3/14/02 - Casting call information, including a list of characters and an address, appeared in the Herald Sun today, and is available over at ComingSoon.net for your perusal. Of course, you'll have to live in the U.K. to try out for these roles. The story also mentions that Ewan McGregor is a top choice to play Professor Remus Lupin.

12/10/01 - Variety reports that Warner Bros. is considering holding this back a year to November, 2004, breaking the "one a year" pattern of the first two. (12/11/01) In an article today about WB's plans for future years, Variety confirmed that WB is leaning towards holding this third film back a year until November, 2004, leaving their "tentpole resources" for 2003 available for the Matrix sequels and Terminator 3.

9/20/01 - Production of the second film doesn't even start until November, but a recent quote from Steven Spielberg that he loves this book and would possibly say yes to it, even though he turned down the first film, has zapped this up several notches in interest, so here's a page to see what happens next. (10/22/01) A report at Dark Horizons suggests that WB may not offer Spielberg this film at all, denying him the chance to say yes. Was the disappointing B.O. of A.I. enough to sour WB's opinion of Spielberg's appeal (if so... you've got to be kidding me)? Reportedly, WB CEO Alan Horn said they are happy with the "process" they're using for the first two films, and want to stay the course. This, does, of course, sound like it makes sense (if the first film is any good, that is).

Page Created: 9/20/01




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