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Stephen Spielberg explains why he turned down the first Harry Potter film

Dominic Smithers

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| Last updated 

Stephen Spielberg explains why he turned down the first Harry Potter film

Steven Spielberg has revealed why he turned down the first Harry Potter movie.

Arguably being the most successful director ever, it's no surprise that studio execs looked to him when they were turning the popular novels into a series of films.

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But despite the allure of being part of what has become a global juggernaut of a franchise, Spielberg decided that it wasn't for him.

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Speaking to Reliance Entertainment, the 76-year-old said that he was given the opportunity to take on Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone over two decades ago.

In the end, Christopher Columbus, best known for directing Home Alone, took the job and that one film alone went on to make over $965 million at the box office after its release in 2001.

The rest of the movies, of which there were seven, took in more than $9 billion.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is one of the most successful films of all time. Credit: Warner Bros.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is one of the most successful films of all time. Credit: Warner Bros.
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But despite the success, Spielberg says he doesn't regret his decision.

"The personal meaning about [how the conflict between] art and family will tear you in half happened to me later, after I had already established myself as a filmmaker, as a working director,” he said.

"Kate [Capshaw] and I started raising a family and we started having children.

"The choice I had to make in taking a job that would move me to another country for four or five months where I wouldn’t see my family every day.

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"That was a ripping kind of experience. There were several films I chose not to make. I chose to turn down the first Harry Potter to basically spend that next year and a half with my family, my young kids growing up.

"So I’d sacrificed a great franchise, which today looking back I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family."

Steven Spielberg says he doesn't regret turning the movie down. Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy
Steven Spielberg says he doesn't regret turning the movie down. Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

I think that's pretty hard to argue with, tbh.

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This comes after Spielberg was spotted thanking Tom Cruise for 'saving' the movie business with his new Top Gun movie.

The legendary director bumped into the actor at the 2023 Oscars Nominee Luncheon, and thanked him for his work on Top Gun: Maverick.

Cruise returned to the silver screen last year with his long-awaited sequel to the 1986 classic Top Gun.

And it proved to be a mega hit. I mean, of course, it was.

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Overall, Maverick raked in $1.48 billion in the global box office, and saw many praise Cruise for giving Hollywood the boost it desperately needed.

Top Gun: Maverick was, of course, a huge success. Credit: Paramount Pictures
Top Gun: Maverick was, of course, a huge success. Credit: Paramount Pictures

One of those who was full of admiration for the 60-year-old was acclaimed director Spielberg, who thanked him personally for his incredible efforts in making the movie a success.

Speaking to Cruise at the Oscars event, he said: "You got the milestone... you saved Hollywood's a**."

While the Mission: Impossible actor smiled self-deprecatingly, Spielberg then added: "Seriously, Maverick might have saved the entire theatrical industry."

Like they say, game recognises game.

Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo / Warner Bros.

Topics: US News, UK News, Harry Potter

Dominic Smithers
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