While the Harry Potter franchise is already one of the most successful of all time, it actually could’ve been a bigger hit (at least at the beginning) had it been helmed by its original director: Steven Spielberg.
When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first developed, Spielberg was heavily attached to the project and even held negotiations.
Ultimately, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was helmed by Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire director Chris Columbus. He also helmed the second film in the hit eight-movie franchise, 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
During a recent discussion with RRR director S.S. Rajamouli, Spielberg revisited his decision to pass on the franchise and explained that he ultimately chose to raise his kids instead.
“There were several films I chose not to make,” Spielberg said while in conversation with RRR director S.S. Rajamouli while in India. “They offered me Harry Potter and I chose to turn down the first Harry Potter to basically spend the next year and a half with my family, my young kids growing up.”
“So, I sacrificed a great franchise — which today looking back I’m very happy to have done — to be with my family. The choice I had to make in taking a job that would move me to another country for four of five months where I wouldn’t see my family every day.” [via Insider]
Needless to say, even without Spielberg in charge, the Harry Potter franchise turned out just fine as it grossed over $9 billion worldwide during its eight-film run, which is good fourth all-time behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, and Spider-Man, and ahead of the likes of James Bond and Batman. Spielberg’s career following the turn of the century has turned out alright, too.
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