The Dark Side of Potter

Peter Mountain/Warner Bros

BE AFRAID: The new film's scarier tone is true to the books — and aimed at an older audience

At last it can be told: despite the $900 million his movie made at the global box office, despite its ranking as the highest-grossing film of 2001, director Chris Columbus was not entirely happy with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. "I always thought we could have gotten the visual effects better," he says. "But we only had a few months to work on them." The pacing of the film, he now admits, was also a bit sluggish at times. "The first 40 minutes of the first Harry Potter film were introductions."

Now that his Harry...

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