Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

International poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by David Heyman
Screenplay by Steve Kloves
Based on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by
J. K. Rowling
Starring Daniel Radcliffe
Rupert Grint
Emma Watson
(See below)
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Roger Pratt
Editing by Peter Honess
Studio Heyday Films
1492 Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) 3 November 2002 (2002-11-03) (London premiere)
15 November 2002 (2002-11-15) (United Kingdom
United States)
Running time 161 minutes
174 minutes (extended version)
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $100 million
Box office $878,979,634[1]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 fantasy film[1] directed by Chris Columbus and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the second instalment in the Harry Potter film series, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The story follows Harry Potter's second year at Hogwarts as the Heir of Salazar Slytherin opens the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing a deadly monster that petrifies the school's pupils. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. It is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and is followed by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

It was released on 15 November 2002 in the UK and North America. The film was very well received at the box office, making $879 million USD worldwide and is the 24th highest-grossing film of all time.[1] The seventh highest grossing film in the Harry Potter series. It was nominated for three BAFTA Film Awards in 2003.



Preparing for a visit from Uncle Vernon Dursley's boss, the Dursleys send Harry to his room. Harry finds Dobby the house elf, who warns against returning to Hogwarts. When Harry refuses, Dobby causes havoc in the house and frames Harry for ruining Vernon's meeting. Vernon locks Harry in his room to prevent his return to Hogwarts. Ron, Fred, and George Weasley arrive in their flying car to rescue Harry and take him to The Burrow, their home. Harry meets Ron's younger sister, Ginny, who is about to begin at Hogwarts and has a crush on Harry. Harry also meets Ron's father, Arthur Weasley; he had met Mrs. Weasley the previous year. Harry and the Weasleys travel to Diagon Alley by Floo Powder. While shopping, Harry meets Gilderoy Lockhart, a famous wizard and author, and later Draco Malfoy and his father, Lucius, who praise Voldemort and deride Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys.

At King's Cross Station, though the rest of the Weasleys reach Platform 9 3/4 without trouble, Harry and Ron find the magical barrier blocked; as a result, they miss the Hogwarts Express. Harry and Ron take the flying car and reach Hogwarts, but accidentally land in the school's Whomping Willow. Ron's wand is broken and the car behaves erratically, ejecting the boys and driving itself into the Forbidden Forest. When Harry and Ron enter Hogwarts they are seen by Snape, who scolds them for flying the car to Hogwarts and nearly expels them. Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore arrive and McGonagall defends the boys and tells them they will receive detention only.

Shortly after the start of term, Harry begins hearing an ominous, icy, cold voice coming from inside the walls, starting in his detention with Lockhart. Harry, Ron and Hermione find the message "The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware" written in blood across a wall and discover that caretaker Argus Filch's cat has been petrified. Legend has it that the Chamber of Secrets can only be opened by the Heir of Slytherin; it is said to be the home of a creature that will only obey the Heir. Harry suspects the Heir is Malfoy. Gilderoy Lockhart, hired to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, offers a dueling club. At the meeting Draco conjures a snake that Harry discovers he can talk to. Hermione explains that he is a Parselmouth like Salazar Slytherin, a connection that causes the school to believe Harry is his Heir. The three brew Polyjuice Potion to disguise themselves as Malfoy's friends Crabbe and Goyle, and interrogate Malfoy, but learn that he is not the Heir.

In a bathroom Harry finds a book with nothing written in it that belonged to someone named Tom Marvolo Riddle. Through the enchanted book Harry sees events that happened fifty years ago when Tom was a student. Tom's memories incriminate Hagrid as the Heir.

Over the course of the school year, Colin Creevey, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Hermione and even the Gryffindor ghost Sir Nicholas are found petrified, and Tom Riddle's diary goes missing. Harry and Ron decide to see Hagrid, but before they can speak to him Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge and Lucius Malfoy arrive. While Ron and Harry hide, the visitors tell Hagrid they are suspending Dumbledore as headmaster and arresting Hagrid under suspicion of having opened the Chamber. Before Hagrid is taken away he tells Ron and Harry to follow the spiders into the Forbidden Forest for the truth. They do so and meet Aragog, a giant spider thought to have killed a student fifty years ago. Aragog reveals that he is not the monster who killed the student and that Hagrid is innocent. Aragog's sons and daughters attack Harry and Ron, but the flying car rescues them.

Harry and Ron learn from a piece of paper in Hermione's hand that the monster is a basilisk and overhear the teachers saying that Ginny has been taken into the Chamber. Lockhart is sent to find the Chamber and save Ginny, but tries to escape until Harry and Ron catch him. It turns out Lockhart's past is false; he used memory-erasing charms on witches and wizards to take credit for their accomplishments. The three find the chamber entrance in Moaning Myrtle's (the girl who died the first time the Chamber opened) bathroom and enter to find a giant snake skin. Lockhart tries stopping Harry and Ron using a memory charm, but it backfires. Lockhart loses his memory and part of the Chamber caves in, separating Harry from the others. Harry finds Ginny and Tom Riddle appears, explaining that he is a memory preserved in the diary. Riddle tells Harry that he is taking over Ginny's soul so that he may regain power. Harry learns that Riddle is Slytherin's Heir and is Lord Voldemort in his teenage form. Riddle sends the basilisk to kill Harry but Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, attacks the basilisk's eyes. Fawkes gives Harry the Sorting Hat, in which appears the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. Harry impales the basilisk in the roof of its mouth, killing it. However a fang stabs his arm.

Harry destroys Voldemort/Riddle by piercing the diary with the fang. Ginny regains consciousness and finds Harry dying, but Fawkes heals Harry's wound with his tears. Dumbledore is returned to the school and Hagrid is released from Azkaban. Dumbledore assuages Harry's concerns of his worthiness to belong to Gryffindor House by pointing out that only a true member could have summoned Godric's sword. Learning that Lucius gave the diary to Ginny and that Dobby serves the Malfoys, Harry tricks Lucius into freeing him from servitude. Everyone who has been petrified is restored. At the year end's feast, Hagrid is welcomed back by a roaring applause.

In a post-credits scene, a new Gilderoy Lockhart book is on display at Flourish & Blotts, entitled "WHO AM I?" and depicting an amnesiac, confused Lockhart in a straitjacket.


  • Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, a celebrity author and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. Hugh Grant is said to have been the first choice for the role but due to reported scheduling conflicts he was unable to play the character.[2] On 25 October 2001, Branagh was selected as Grant's replacement.[3]
  • John Cleese as Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor House ghost.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts groundskeeper.
  • Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick, the Charms master at Hogwarts and head of House Ravenclaw.
  • Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley, Harry's Muggle uncle.
  • Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster and one of the greatest wizards of the age. Harris died shortly before the movie was released.
  • Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father
  • Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, the Hogwarts potions master and head of House Slytherin.
  • Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley, Harry's Muggle aunt.
  • Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts and head of House Gryffindor.
  • Julie Walters as Molly Weasley, the Weasley matriarch and a mother figure to Harry.


The flying car as used in the film

Production for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets began on 19 November 2001, just three days after the widespread release of the first Harry Potter film. Shooting first took place in Surrey, England, at Number Four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, of the Dursleys' home. It was shot on location on the Isle of Man and in several places in Great Britain; Leavesden Film Studios in London made several scenes for Hogwarts. Mr. Weasley's car was created from a Ford Anglia. Other locations were shot in England, including a Hogwarts Express set in King's Cross railway station Platform 9¾. The famous cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral were used as the setting for Hogwart's School.[4] Filming finished in the summer of 2002.[5]


Box office

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets premiered in the UK on 3 November 2002 and in the United States and Canada on 14 November 2002 before its widespread release on 15 November, one year after the Philosopher's Stone. The film broke multiple records upon its opening. In the U.S. and Canada the film opened to an $88.4 million opening weekend at 3,682 cinemas, the third largest opening at the time, behind Spider-Man and the film's predecessor Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.[6] In the United Kingdom the film broke all opening records that were previously held by The Philosopher's Stone. It made £18.9 million during its opening including previews and £10.9 million excluding previews.[7] It went on to make £54.8 million in the UK, the fifth biggest tally of all time in the region at the time.[8]

The film made a total of $879 million worldwide,[1] which made it the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time.[9] It was the second highest-grossing film of 2002 worldwide behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers[10] and the fourth higheset-grossing film in the U.S. and Canada that year with $261 million behind Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.[11] However, it was the number one film of the year at the non-American box office making $617 million compared to The Two Towers' $584.5 million.[12]

Critical reception

The film's reviews were generally positive and it currently holds an 83% "Certified Fresh" approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes (the fourth most favourably reviewed Harry Potter film on the site)[13] and a score of 63 out of 100 at Metacritic representing "generally favourable reviews" (the least favourably reviewed Harry Potter film on the site).[14] Roger Ebert called The Chamber of Secrets "a phenomenal film" and gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, especially praising the set design.[15] Entertainment Weekly commended the film for being better and darker than its predecessor: "And among the things this Harry Potter does very well indeed is deepen the darker, more frightening atmosphere for audiences. This is as it should be: Harry's story is supposed to get darker".[16] Richard Roeper praised the directing and the films faithfulness to the book, saying: "Chris Columbus, the director, does a real wonderful job of being faithful to the story but also taking it into a cinematic era".[17] Variety also said the film was excessively long, but praised it for being darker and more dramatic, saying that its confidence and intermittent flair to give it a life of its own apart of the books was something The Philosopher's Stone never achieved.[18] A. O. Scott from The New York Times said: "instead of feeling stirred you may feel battered and worn down, but not, in the end, too terribly disappointed".[19]

Peter Travers from The Rolling Stone condemned the film for being over-long and too faithful to the book: "Once again, director Chris Columbus takes a hat-in-hand approach to Rowling that stifles creativity and allows the film to drag on for nearly three hours".[20] Kenneth Turan from The Los Angeles Times called the film a cliché which is "deja vu all over again, it's likely that whatever you thought of the first production – pro or con – you'll likely think of this one".[21]

Home media

The film was originally released in the UK, US and Canada on 11 April 2003 on both VHS tape and in a two-disc special edition DVD digipack, which included extended and deleted scenes and interviews.[22] On 11 December 2007, the Blu-Ray[23] version of the film was released. 8 December 2009 saw the release of the Ultimate Edition, featuring new footage, TV spots, and a continuation of the documentary from the Ultimate Edition of the first film.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=harrypotter2.htm. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  2. ^ Reiter, Amy (1 October 2001). "Hugh can't always get what you want". Salon.com. http://archive.salon.com/people/col/reit/2001/10/01/npmon/index.html. Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  3. ^ "Gilderoy Lockhart actor found for Potter 2". Newsround. 25 October 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/tv_film/newsid_1619000/1619827.stm. Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  4. ^ 'Harry Potter Filming Locations' at Gloucestershire On Screen
  5. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Greg's Preview. Yahoo! Movies[dead link]
  6. ^ Gray, Brandon (18 November 2002). "Harry Potter Potent with $88.4 Million Weekend". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=1234&p=.htm. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  7. ^ "Potter conjures up box office record". BBC News. 18 November 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/2487535.stm. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  8. ^ "All time box office". Sky is Falling. http://www.sky-is-falling.co.uk/archives-alltime.html. Retrieved 22 September 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ Strowbridge, C.S. (28 January 2003). "Chamber of Secrets sneaks pasts Jurassic Park". The Numbers. http://www.the-numbers.com/interactive/newsStory.php?newsID=83. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  10. ^ "2002 WORLDWIDE GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?view2=worldwide&yr=2002&p=.htm. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  12. ^ "OVERSEAS TOTAL YEARLY BOX OFFICE". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/intl/weekend/yearly/?yr=2002&p=.htm. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  13. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/harry_potter_and_the_chamber_of_secrets/. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  14. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/harrypotterandthechamberofsecrets?q=Harry%20Potter%20and%20the%20Chamber%20of%20Secrets. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets". Chicago Sun Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20021115/REVIEWS/211150304. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  16. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (13 November 2002). "Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,389817~1~0~harrypotterandchamber,00.html. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  17. ^ Roeper, Robert (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets". Ebert & Roeper. http://apps.tvplex.go.com/ebertandthemovies/audioplayer.cgi?file=021111_harry_potter_chamber_secrets. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  18. ^ McCarthy, Todd (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets". Variety. http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=review&reviewid=VE1117919275&categoryid=31&cs=1. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  19. ^ Stevens, Dana (15 November 2002). "FILM REVIEW; An Older, Wiser Wizard, But Still That Crafty Lad". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0CE0DB1730F936A25752C1A9649C8B63. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  20. ^ Travers, Peter (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/5948587/review/5948588/harry_potter_and_the_chamber_of_secrets. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  21. ^ Turan, Kenneth (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071011073414/http://calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-turan15nov15,0,1767241.story. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  22. ^ Kipnis, Jill (1 March 2003). "Blockbuster Sequels Ensure DVD's Sale Saga". Billboard. http://books.google.com/books?id=OA8EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA66&lpg=PA66&dq=chamber+of+secrets+VHS+and+DVD+release+11+April+2003&source=bl&ots=0yHUfXBd46&sig=EOjpENQZcOtsY8TulUeTTEtzfNw&hl=en&ei=1BDzTMamBYKclgeNjemqDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&sqi=2&ved=0CE8Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=chamber%20of%20secrets%20VHS%20and%20DVD%20release%2011%20April%202003&f=false. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Harry-Potter-and-the-Chamber-of-Secrets-Blu-ray/365/. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  24. ^ Calogne, Juan (18 September 2009). "Ultimate Editions Announced for First Two Harry Potter movies". Blu-ray.com. http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=3447. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 

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