After a one-film break from the Harry Potter movies, Steve Kloves has returned as the screenplay writer of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” But will fans welcome him back with open arms?
Author of the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling, has always accepted the idea that books are not movies, and there’s no way they can be. Her only request has been to stay true to the characters. Simple enough.
But what about the plot? As readers know, the sixth installment premiering July 15 contains one of the most climatic, traumatic and violent scenes yet. Kloves, however, has decided to revert back to a PG rating and create an entirely different ending. For the sake of readers, the change is potentially quite hazardous, and fans may not be as receptive to the alteration as the filmmakers.
“Variety” reported other minor deviations, such as the lack of Rufus Scrimgeour, the newly instated Minister of Magic (who will debut in the next film), but adaptations are capricious. There’s really no way of telling which way they will swing amongst the audience.
The most preemptive problem with the Harry Potter films is the massive and highly devoted international fan base. They show up hours before ticket sales adorned in Hogwarts uniforms and wands, so they’re not likely to take any change lightly. The critics will be fierce, and Kloves better hope he did the right thing. You don’t mess with Potter fans.
Perhaps even more threatening to ticket sales, “Half-Blood Prince” is being released in the wake of the “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” box office frenzy, which Paramount Pictures reported had claimed record-breaking numbers for a Wednesday release at $60.6 million. Currently calibrated by the studio at $201.2 million, Warner Brothers better hope it was a wise decision to take a plot swerve, particularly because of the unspoken rivalry between the two films: the previous record holder was none other than the last Potter film “The Order of the Phoenix.”
Photo: Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe at a photocall for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at Claridges Hotel, London, Monday July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/Ian West/PA)