One reason I like movie trivia is because I come across little nuggets such as this and I begin thinking about how a certain movie franchise could have ended up being different. I try to vary the films I post for the my fun facts, but this was too good not to share.
Warner Brothers bought the film rights to JK Rowling’s first four Harry Potter books in 1998 for $2 million (£1 million). When looking for a director for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, WB approached Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks studio. After Spielberg accepted the offer, negotiations began immediately about the story and look of the films. Spielberg wanted to make the movies animated since they were going to be very special effects heavy anyway. He also wanted to combine several books into one movie. Alan Horn, who was recently appointed president at WB at the time, eventually declined the partnership, stating:
“I did think it would be worthwhile for Steven Spielberg to direct. We offered it to him. But one of the notions of DreamWork’s and Steven’s was, ‘Let’s combine a couple of the books, let’s make it animated,’ and that was because of the [visual effects and] Pixar had demonstrated that animated movies could be extremely successful. Because of the wizardry involved, they were very effects-laden. So I don’t blame them. But I did not want to combine the movie and I wanted it to be live action.”
As much as I like Spielberg, I’m glad Horn didn’t go in that direction. It’s hard to imagine not growing up with Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry, Ron and Hermione. Although combining books would have moved the narrative along, it would not have been able to build the characters and relationships very well.