Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie.jpg
British 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
Edited by Peter Honess
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 3 November 2002 (2002-11-03) (London premiere)
  • 15 November 2002 (2002-11-15) (United Kingdom & United States)
Running time
161 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $100 million
Box office $879 million[1]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.[1] It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the second instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was 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 monster that petrifies the school's denizens. 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 United Kingdom and North America. The film was very well received critically and commercially, making US$879 million worldwide and is the 34th highest-grossing film of all time.[1] and the seventh highest-grossing film in the Harry Potter series. It was nominated for three BAFTA Film Awards in 2003.


Further information: Plot of the novel

Harry Potter has spent all summer without receiving any letters from his friends at Hogwarts. Going to his room while the Dursleys are hosting a dinner party, Harry meets Dobby, a house-elf who warns him bad things will happen if he returns to Hogwarts, and reveals he has hidden his friends' letters. Harry chases him downstairs, where Dobby destroys a cake as a warning. The Dursleys imprison Harry in his bedroom, only for Ron, Fred and George Weasley to rescue him in their father's flying Ford Anglia, taking him to their home, the Burrow. Later, the Weasley family go to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies using Floo Powder, but Harry ends up in Knockturn Alley by mistake, where he is found by Rubeus Hagrid.

Harry reunites with the Weasleys and Hermione Granger, and they go to a book signing by celebrity wizard Gilderoy Lockhart who announces he will be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. Harry also encounters Draco Malfoy and his father Lucius, who works at the Ministry of Magic. The Weasleys depart to board the Hogwarts Express but Harry and Ron are blocked from entering Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. They use the Ford Anglia to fly to Hogwarts, where they crash into the hostile Whomping Willow. The two are allowed back into school but face detention. Ron's younger sister Ginny is sorted at Hogwarts as a Gryffindor.

While serving detention with Lockhart, Harry hears voices in the walls, and finds caretaker Argus Filch's cat, Mrs Norris, petrified, and a message written in blood announcing the Chamber of Secrets has been opened and threatening "enemies of the Heir". Professor McGonagall explains that one of Hogwarts' founders Salazar Slytherin is rumoured to have hidden a monster in a secret Chamber to purge the school of impure-blooded wizards and witches, which only his Heir can control. Harry suspects Malfoy to be the Heir, so Hermione suggests using a Polyjuice Potion to disguise themselves as Malfoy's friends, Crabbe and Goyle, and ask him directly. Their makeshift laboratory is in abandoned toilets haunted by Moaning Myrtle. Colin Creevey is found petrified shortly after.

During a wizards' duel against Draco Malfoy, Harry speaks to a snake in Parseltongue, something Salazar could do, which convinces some students that Harry may be the heir, especially after he finds Justin Finch-Fletchley and ghost Nearly Headless Nick also petrified. At Christmas, Harry and Ron use the Polyjuice to become Crabbe and Goyle and learn that Malfoy is not the Heir after all. Harry finds an enchanted diary, owned by a former student named Tom Riddle. When Harry writes in it, the diary speaks back, and shows him a flashback to fifty years before, in which Riddle accused Hagrid, then a pupil, of opening the Chamber. Hermione is petrified, prompting Harry and Ron to confront Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore, Cornelius Fudge, and Lucius arrive to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but he discreetly tells the boys to "follow the spiders". They venture into the Forbidden Forest, finding a colony of Acromantula led by Aragog who backs Hagrid's innocence and reveals that a girl died when the Chamber was opened before. The spiders then try to eat Harry and Ron, who escape in the Ford Anglia.

They find a library book page in Hermione's hand that reveals that the monster is a Basilisk, a giant snake that can instantly kill those who make direct eye contact with it, and realise that all the victims so far were merely petrified because they only saw its reflection. The school staff learn that Ginny has been taken into the Chamber, and convince Lockhart to save her. Harry and Ron find Lockhart, revealed as a fraud, planning to flee, and drag him to Myrtle's bathroom, realising she was the girl killed by the Basilisk. Finding the Chamber's entrance, the three go in, but Lockhart tries to use a memory charm on the boys using Ron's wand, only for it to backfire, wipe his memories, and cause a cave-in.

Harry ventures into the Chamber alone, finding an unconscious Ginny and Tom Riddle's ghost. Harry realises Riddle is the Heir, using the diary to manipulate Ginny and re-open the Chamber. Riddle then reveals his full name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, from which he created the anagram for a new identity: "I am Lord Voldemort". Riddle summons the Basilisk, which Harry evades until Dumbledore's phoenix Fawkes flies in with the Sorting Hat and blinds the basilisk. The hat produces the Sword of Gryffindor which Harry uses to slay the Basilisk but is poisoned by its fangs.

Realising that Tom Riddle's appearance stems from the diary, Harry uses the Basilisk fang that poisoned him to stab it, destroying Riddle. Fawkes' tears heal Harry, and he returns to Hogwarts with his friends and the revived Ginny. Dumbledore praises them and orders Hagrid to be released. Dumbledore also explains to Harry that though Voldemort accidentally transferred some of his powers to him at the time he gave him his scar, Harry has chosen to be put in Gryffindor House rather than Slytherin House, proving himself to be different. Dumbledore also reveals that the sword came to Harry because he proved himself to be a true Gryffindor. Harry accuses Lucius Malfoy, Dobby's master, of having put the diary in Ginny's cauldron and tricks him into freeing Dobby by giving him a sock. The Basilisk's victims are healed, with Hagrid returning to school to the applause of the students and staff.


Main article: List of Harry Potter films cast members


Set design[edit]

The flying Ford Anglia used in the film

Production designer Stuart Craig returned for the sequel to design new elements previously not seen in the first film. These included the Burrow, Dumbledore's office (which houses the Sorting Hat, The Sword of Gryffindor and Dumbledore's desk),[4] Borgin and Burkes, and the Chamber of Secrets.

Mr. Weasley's car was created from a Ford Anglia.[5]


Production for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets began on 19 November 2001,[6] just three days after the wide release of the Philosopher's Stone. The first three weeks of shooting consisted mostly of second-unit work on special effects, primarily the flying car scene.[7] First-unit photography then began in Surrey, England, at Number Four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, for scenes taking place at the Dursleys' home. Filming continued on location at the Isle of Man and in several places in Great Britain; Leavesden Film Studios in London made several scenes for Hogwarts. Other locations were shot in England, including a Hogwarts Express set in King's Cross railway station Platform 9¾. The famous cloisters of England's Gloucester Cathedral were used as the setting for Hogwart's School.[8] Principal photography concluded in the summer of 2002,[9] while the film spent until early October in post-production.[10] In a change of cinematography from the first instalment, director Christopher Columbus opted to handheld cameras for Chamber of Secrets to allow more freedom in movement.[11]

Sound design[edit]

Due to the events that take place in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the film's sound effects were much more expansive than in the previous instalment. Sound designer and co-supervising sound editor Randy Thom returned for the sequel using Pro Tools to complete the job, which included initial conceptions done at Skywalker Sound in California and primary work done at Shepperton Studios in England.[12]


John Williams

John Williams, who composed the previous film's score, returned to score Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Scoring the film proved to be a difficult task. Williams had just completed scoring Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Minority Report when work was to begin on Catch Me If You Can. Because of this, William Ross was brought in to arrange themes from the Philosopher's Stone into the new material that Williams was composing whenever he had the chance.[13] The soundtrack was released on 12 November 2002.



Footage for the film began appearing online in the summer of 2002, with a teaser trailer debuting in cinemas with the release of Scooby-Doo.[14] A video game based on the film was released in early November 2002 by Electronic Arts for several consoles, including GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.[15] The film also continued the merchandising success set by its predecessor, with the reports of shortages on Lego's Chamber of Secrets tie-ins.[16]

Theatrical release[edit]

The film premiered in the UK on 3 November 2002 and in the United States and Canada on 14 November 2002 before its wide release on 15 November, one year after the Philosopher's Stone.

Home media[edit]

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.[17] On 11 December 2007, the film's Blu-ray[18] version was released. An Ultimate Edition of the film was released on 8 December 2009, featuring new footage, TV spots, an extended version of the film with deleted scenes edited in, and a feature-length special Creating the World of Harry Potter Part 2: Characters.[19] The film's extended version has a running time of about 174 minutes, which has previously been shown during certain television airings.[20]


Box office[edit]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets broke multiple records upon its opening. In the US 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 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.[21] It was also No. 1 at the box office for two non-consecutive weekends.[22] 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.[23] It went on to make £54.8 million in the UK; at the time, the fifth biggest tally of all time in the region.[24]

The film made a total of $879 million worldwide,[1] which made it the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time.[25] It was 2002's second highest-grossing film worldwide behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers[26] and the fourth highest-grossing film in the US and Canada that year with $262 million behind Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones.[27] However, it was the year's number one film at the non-American box office, making $617 million compared to The Two Towers' $584.5 million.[28]

Critical reception[edit]

The film's reviews were very 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)[29] and a score of 63 out of 100 at Metacritic representing "generally favourable reviews" (the least favourably reviewed Harry Potter film on the site).[30] Roger Ebert called The Chamber of Secrets "a phenomenal film" and gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, especially praising the set design.[31] 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".[32] Richard Roeper praised the directing and the film's 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".[33] 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 from the books was something The Philosopher's Stone never achieved.[34] 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".[35]

Peter Travers from 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".[36] 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".[37]


The film was nominated for three BAFTA Awards. These were for Best Production Design, Sound, and Achievement in Visual Effects.[38] The film was also nominated for six Saturn Awards in 2003 and in 2004 for its DVD release.[39]


  1. ^ a b c d "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  2. ^ Reiter, Amy (1 October 2001). "Hugh can't always get what you want". Salon. Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  3. ^ "Gilderoy Lockhart actor found for Potter 2". Newsround. 25 October 2001. Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  4. ^ "Harry Potter and the studio tour: Fans to go behind-the-scenes at Leavesden". Daily Mail. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Harry Potter's 'flying' car taken". BBC News. 28 October 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "'Harry Potter' making records disappear". USA Today. 18 November 2001. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Kehr, Dave (23 November 2001). "At the Movies: Trading Britain For America". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
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  9. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Greg's Preview. Yahoo! Movies[dead link]
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  11. ^ Lawson, Terry (14 November 2002). "The second installment is charmed, direcotr says". The Vindicator. p. D10. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Jackson, Blair (1 January 2003). "The Chamber of Secrets". MIX. NewBay Media, LLC. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
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  14. ^ "Potter trailer gets Scooby outing". BBC News. 13 June 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Krause, Staci (26 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The second outting for the young wizard is better than the first...but how much better?". IGN. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Cagle, Jess (3 November 2002). "When Harry Meets SCARY". Time. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Kipnis, Jill (1 March 2003). "Blockbuster Sequels Ensure DVD's Sale Saga". Billboard. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  18. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  19. ^ Calogne, Juan (18 September 2009). "Ultimate Editions Announced for First Two Harry Potter movies". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  20. ^ "Exclusive First Look at 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' to Be Presented During Network Television Debut of 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,' Airing May 7 on ABC". Business Wire. 2 May 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Gray, Brandon (18 November 2002). "Harry Potter Potent with $88.4 Million Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  22. ^ "November 29-December 1, 2002 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
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  24. ^ "All time box office". Sky is Falling. Retrieved 22 September 2007. [dead link]
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  28. ^ "OVERSEAS TOTAL YEARLY BOX OFFICE". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
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  30. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
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  32. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (13 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  33. ^ Roeper, Robert (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Ebert & Roeper. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  34. ^ McCarthy, Todd (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Variety. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  35. ^ Stevens, Dana (15 November 2002). "FILM REVIEW; An Older, Wiser Wizard, But Still That Crafty Lad". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  36. ^ Travers, Peter (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  37. ^ Turan, Kenneth (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  38. ^ "BAFTA Nominees and Winners 2003 – The Pianist Tops the List". About.com. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  39. ^ Moro, Eric (5 March 2003). "The 29th Annual Saturn Awards Nominations – Feature Film Category". Mania.com. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 

External links[edit]