The seventh and penultimate Harry Potter movie hadits world premiere in London on Thursday, with another big pay day virtually guaranteed for studio Warner Bros. despite its failure to get a 3-D version ready in time.
Young British stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who play Harry, Hermione and Ron respectively in the wizard series, are expected on the red carpet for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 due in theatres on November 19.
Warner decided to split the seventh and final JK Rowling book about Harry and his wand-wielding adventures into two films after the first six movies amassed a staggering $5,4 billion (£3,4 billion) at the global box office.
Yet the hugely popular franchise has yet to break the billion-dollar barrier with a single title, and a 3-D release would have made that landmark a near certainty, experts said.
“I think the 3-D issue must be a big disappointment for Warner Bros.” said Andreas Wiseman of Screen International.
“I think they’ve really missed a trick. Other big franchises like Saw, Shrek and Toy Story have gone from strength to strength (by turning to 3-D).”
He added that Deathly Hallows Part 1 may cross $1 billion in global ticket sales even without higher prices commanded by a third dimension, and that the franchise has another chance to cash in on 3-D with Deathly Hallows Part 2 out next July.
In Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on a mission to track down and destroy the secret to evil Lord Voldemort’s immortality and destruction, the Horcruxes.
The movie trailer, part of a major marketing campaign running for several weeks already, suggests the film will feature a familiar mix of spectacular action sequences and increasingly dark storyline with the added twist of a bust-up between close friends Harry and Ron.
The actors playing the three central characters for the last decade are in the middle of a gruelling round of interviews to promote the film, and have spoken of mixed feelings about a franchise that turned them into A-list stars and millionaires.
Grint (22) felt a sense of relief that a decade of filming had finally ended.