As much time and money and effort as Hollywood pours into big-budget franchises, only a handful manage to make a real lasting impression on moviegoers. But the best of them live on long after the last installment has hit theaters, and one that falls into that category is Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter series.

From 2001 to 2011, the studio released eight films based on J.K. Rowling‘s books. Collectively, they’re are one of the most successful cinematic series of time by any standard — critically, commercially, culturally. Even now, after all the cast and crew have moved onto other projects, fans still harbor a deep affection for the Boy Who Lived.

In tribute to the beloved fantasy saga, Kees Van Dijkhuizen Jr. has edited together a gorgeous thirteen-minute retrospective titled “Mischief Managed.” Hit the jump to watch his video, and be warned that you may get a lump in your throat once John Williams‘ iconic theme kicks in.

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The moment I walked out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 last summer, I remember thinking “I can’t wait to own the entire series in one Blu-ray box set.” Warner Bros. quickly obliged with a disappointing barebones release for the 2011 holiday season and then vowed to take the movies off shelves. Why would they do such a thing? Probably to build hype for the set that just popped up on Amazon.

Amazon is now taking orders for the Harry Potter Wizards Collection, a 31-disc box set featuring all eight films in the series and much, much more. Retail price is $499.99 but you can now pre-order for the almost as obscene $349.99. See more of the set, including a video, and read the early specs below. Read More »

The title of this post is “Theme Park Bits,” but it should really be called “Universal Studios Theme Park Bits.” While most of us have been spent the past week alternating between lounging about in our PJs and bickering with our families, the international amusement park division was apparently busy getting new attractions for its Orlando, Hollywood, and Singapore parks on track. After the jump:

  • Details revealed on the new Harry Potter expansion in Universal Studios Florida
  • A video allows you to revisit Universal Studio Florida’s recently closed Jaws ride
  • Universal Studios Hollywood sets an opening date for Transformers The Ride
  • Universal Studios Singapore unveils its brand-new Hollywood Dreams parade

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Earlier this month, word leaked out that Universal was planning to build a second Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park world in the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. Days later, we confirmed that the Jaws attraction would be closing in Universal Orlando to make way for a new attraction. And yesterday we reported a rumor from a usually good source that Amity would be replaced with an expansion of the Wizarding World which would involve Harry Potter’s London, Diagon Alley, and a Hogwarts Express train that would transport guests in between the two parks (Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure) into “the wizarding world.” While details have still not been revealed, Universal held a press conference today to announce that Harry Potter would be coming to the Hollywood park, and that the Wizarding World would expand in Orlando. Still no details on what the expansion will entail, and what rides (new or old) the Hollywood Potter area might include — although I expect it will combine some of what is already in the Wizarding World in Orlando (definitely the Forbidden Journey ride) as well as some elements of the announced expansion (Diagon Alley? A new ride?) Read the press release after the jump.

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Before the July 2007 release of JK Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of the major points of discussion was which characters the author would kill. Would Harry make it through? Which side characters would be offed? In the end, though Rowling did kill a handful of name characters, she was mostly merciful. Especially with her leads. However, in a new interview, she admitted she was toying with the idea of killing Ron Weasley. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Come 2012, Harry Potter will no longer be on DVD shelves. Warner Bros. just made an announcement that as of December 29, 2011 all copies of Harry Potter movies, including the November 11 releases of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection will be taken out of circulation. It’s a move reminiscent of Disney, who releases films on home video and then, after several months, puts them in “The Disney Vault” increasing the value of previously released product and creating interest in an eventual re-release. Let Pottermania begin again. Read more after the jump. Read More »

If you’re the kind of person who got all emotional during all those Harry Potter cast interviews about shooting the final scene, or if you referred to the last movie, without irony,  as “the end of an era,” then When Harry Left Hogwarts is for you. The documentary, by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Morgan Matthews (The Fallen), chronicles the making of David YatesHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2, and will make you get teary-eyed all over again as cast members talk about what it’s been like to be part of the franchise for the past ten years. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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If you, like me, have always been bummed that Hogwarts wasn’t actually real, have we got some news for you. No, the wizarding academy hasn’t suddenly decided to open its doors to us Muggles — but Warner Bros. will be opening up a tour of its Leavesden soundstages, where much of the films were shot. Called “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London — The Making of Harry Potter,” it’s as close as you’re bound to get to actually attending Professor Snape’s Potions class in this lifetime.

Plans to convert part of the site to a Harry Potter-themed attraction were first reported last year, and earlier this year Warner Bros. announced that the studio would be ready for Potterphiles in Spring 2012. At the time, we wrote that tickets would be on sale sometime this year; we now know exactly when and for how much. Hit the jump for more details on the tour, including a mockup of the studio exterior.

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