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
Theatrical release 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
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Roger Pratt
Edited by Peter Honess
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • 3 November 2002 (2002-11-03) (Odeon Leicester Square)
  • 15 November 2002 (2002-11-15) (United Kingdom & United States)
Running time
161 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $100 million[2]
Box office $879 million[2]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 British-American fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.[2] 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.

The film was released on 15 November 2002 in the United Kingdom and North America. It was very well received critically and commercially, making US$879 million worldwide. It is the seventh-highest-grossing film in the Harry Potter series and the 45th-highest-grossing film of all time.[2] It was nominated for three BAFTA Film Awards in 2003.


Further information: Plot of the novel

Harry Potter spends the summer without receiving letters from his Hogwarts friends. In his room, Harry meets Dobby, a house-elf who warns him bad things will happen if he returns to Hogwarts, and reveals he intercepted his friends' letters. Harry chases him downstairs, where Dobby destroys a cake. The Dursleys lock Harry up, but Ron, Fred and George Weasley rescue him in their father's flying Ford Anglia.

While buying school supplies, Harry and the Weasley family encounter Rubeus Hagrid and Hermione Granger, and they attend a book-signing by celebrity wizard Gilderoy Lockhart, who announces he will be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry also encounters Draco Malfoy and his father Lucius, who slips a book in Ginny Weasley's belongings. When Harry and Ron are blocked from entering Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (later revealed to be Dobby's doing), they fly to Hogwarts in the Ford Anglia and crash into the hostile Whomping Willow. Ron's wand is damaged, and the car throws them out before driving off. They are allowed back into school but face detention.

While serving detention with Lockhart, Harry hears strange voices and later finds caretaker Argus Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, petrified, and a message written in blood announcing the "Chamber of Secrets has been opened, Enemies of the Heir, beware". Professor McGonagall explains that one of Hogwarts' founders, Salazar Slytherin, supposedly constructed a secret Chamber and placed inside it a monster that only his Heir can control, to purge the school of impure-blooded wizards and witches. More attacks occur over the course of the year. Harry and Ron suspect Malfoy is the Heir, so Hermione suggests they question him while disguised using polyjuice potion. Their makeshift laboratory is in a disused bathroom haunted by a ghost, Moaning Myrtle.

When Harry communicates with a snake (something Salazar Slytherin could do) the school suspects him as the Heir. At Christmas, Harry and Ron learn that Malfoy is not the Heir, but he mentions that a girl died when the Chamber was last opened fifty years ago. Harry finds an enchanted diary, owned by a former student named Tom Riddle, which shows him a flashback to fifty years before, where Riddle accused Hagrid, then a student, of opening the Chamber. When the diary disappears and Hermione is petrified, Harry and Ron question Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore, Cornelius Fudge, and Lucius Malfoy come to take Hagrid to Azkaban, but he discreetly tells the boys to "follow the spiders". Lucius has Dumbledore suspended. In the Forbidden Forest, Harry and Ron find Aragog, a giant spider who reveals Hagrid's innocence and that the dead girl was found in a bathroom. Aragog then sets his colony of Acromantula on the boys, but the now-wild Ford Anglia saves them.

A book page in Hermione's hand identifies the monster is a basilisk, a giant serpent that instantly kills those who make direct eye contact with it; the petrified victims saw it indirectly. The school staff learn that Ginny was taken into the Chamber, and convince Lockhart to save her. Harry and Ron find Lockhart, exposed as a fraud, planning to flee; knowing Myrtle was the girl the Basilisk killed, they drag him to her bathroom and find the Chamber's entrance. Once inside, Lockhart uses Ron's damaged wand against them, but it backfires, wiping his memory, and causes a cave-in.

Harry enters the Chamber alone and finds Ginny unconscious and dying guarded by Tom Riddle. Harry realises Riddle is the Heir and he used the diary to manipulate Ginny and reopen the Chamber. Riddle then reveals his full name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, from which he created the anagram for his future new identity, "I am Lord Voldemort". After Harry expresses support for Dumbledore, Dumbledore's Fawkes flies in with the Sorting Hat, and Riddle summons the Basilisk. Fawkes blinds the Basilisk, and the Sorting Hat eventually produces a sword with which Harry battles and slays the Basilisk, but he is poisoned by its fangs.

Harry defeats Riddle and revives Ginny by stabbing the diary with a basilisk fang. Fawkes' tears heal him, and he returns to Hogwarts with his friends and a baffled Lockhart. Dumbledore, reinstated as headmaster, praises them and orders for Hagrid's release. Dumbledore shows Harry that the sword he wielded was Godric Gryffindor's own sword, and says he is different from Voldemort because he chose Gryffindor House instead of Slytherin House. Harry accuses Lucius, Dobby's master, of putting the diary in Ginny's cauldron and tricks him into freeing Dobby. The Basilisk's victims are healed, Hermione reunites with Harry and Ron, and Hagrid returns.




Although Chris Columbus returned to direct, Frank Oz said in an interview with The A.V. Club that he was asked to direct this film but he had no interest on it.[5]

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 (the Weasley's house), Dumbledore's office (which houses the Sorting Hat, The Sword of Gryffindor and Dumbledore's desk),[6] Borgin and Burkes, and the Chamber of Secrets.

Mr. Weasley's car was created from a Ford Anglia.[7]


Production for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets began on 19 November 2001,[8] just three days after the wide release of the first film. The first three weeks of shooting consisted mostly of second-unit work on special effects, primarily the flying car scene.[9] 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 Hogwarts School.[10]

Originally, a scene in which Lucius Malfoy is confronted in Dumbledore's office ended sooner but the final exchange was ad-libbed. Jason Isaacs felt his character would've said something after being humiliated, and Columbus asked him to try. According to Isaacs, he improvised, "Let us hope Mr.Potter will always be around to save the day." Isaacs was impressed by Daniel Radcliffe's maturation as an actor based on his own improvised line, "Don't worry. I will be."[11]

Principal photography concluded in the summer of 2002,[12] while the film spent until early October in post-production.[13] In a change of cinematography from the first instalment, director Chris Columbus opted to handheld cameras for Chamber of Secrets to allow more freedom in movement.[14]

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.[15]


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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] The film also continued the merchandising success set by its predecessor, with the reports of shortages on Lego's Chamber of Secrets tie-ins.[19]

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.[20] On 11 December 2007, the film's Blu-ray[21] 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.[22] The film's extended version has a running time of about 174 minutes, which has previously been shown during certain television airings.[23]


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.[24] It was also No. 1 at the box office for two non-consecutive weekends.[25] 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.[26] It went on to make £54.8 million in the UK; at the time, the fifth biggest tally of all time in the region.[27]

The film made a total of $879 million worldwide,[2] which made it the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time.[28] It was 2002's second highest-grossing film worldwide behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

Critical response[edit]

The film's reviews were very positive and it currently holds an 82% "Certified Fresh" approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes (the fourth most favourably reviewed Harry Potter film on the site)[32] and a score of 63 out of 100 at Metacritic representing "generally favourable reviews" (the least favourably reviewed Harry Potter film on the site).[33] CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade. Roger Ebert called The Chamber of Secrets "a phenomenal film" and gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, especially praising the set design.[34] 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".[35] 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".[36] 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.[37] 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".[38]

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".[39] 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".[40]


The film was nominated for three BAFTA Awards. These were for Best Production Design, Sound, and Achievement in Visual Effects.[41] The film was also nominated for six Saturn Awards in 2003 and in 2004 for its DVD release.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Reiter, Amy (1 October 2001). "Hugh can't always get what you want". Salon. Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  4. ^ "Gilderoy Lockhart actor found for Potter 2". Newsround. 25 October 2001. Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  5. ^ Rabin, Nathan (16 August 2007). "Frank Oz". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Harry Potter and the studio tour: Fans to go behind-the-scenes at Leavesden". Daily Mail. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Harry Potter's 'flying' car taken". BBC News. 28 October 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "'Harry Potter' making records disappear". USA Today. 18 November 2001. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Kehr, Dave (23 November 2001). "At the Movies: Trading Britain For America". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  10. ^ 'Harry Potter Filming Locations' at Gloucestershire on Screen
  11. ^ "Creating the World of Harry Potter, Part 2: Characters". A&E. 
  12. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Greg's Preview. Yahoo! Movies Archived 21 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  13. ^ "Potter film should be finished next week". CBBC Newsround. 4 October 2002. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Lawson, Terry (14 November 2002). "The second installment is charmed, director says". The Vindicator. p. D10. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Jackson, Blair (1 January 2003). "The Chamber of Secrets". MIX. NewBay Media, LLC. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (John Williams/William Ross)". Filmtracks. 7 November 2002. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Potter trailer gets Scooby outing". BBC News. 13 June 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Cagle, Jess (3 November 2002). "When Harry Meets SCARY". Time. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Kipnis, Jill (1 March 2003). "Blockbuster Sequels Ensure DVD's Sale Saga". Billboard. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  21. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  22. ^ Calogne, Juan (18 September 2009). "Ultimate Editions Announced for First Two Harry Potter movies". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "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. 
  24. ^ Gray, Brandon (18 November 2002). "Harry Potter Potent with $88.4 Million Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  25. ^ "November 29-December 1, 2002 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Potter conjures up box office record". BBC News. 18 November 2002. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  27. ^ "All time box office". Sky is Falling. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  28. ^ Strowbridge, C.S. (28 January 2003). "Chamber of Secrets sneaks pasts Jurassic Park". The Numbers. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  29. ^ "2002 WORLDWIDE GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  31. ^ "OVERSEAS TOTAL YEARLY BOX OFFICE". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  32. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  33. ^ "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  34. ^ Ebert, Roger (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  35. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (13 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  36. ^ Roeper, Robert (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Ebert & Roeper. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  37. ^ McCarthy, Todd (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Variety. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  38. ^ Stevens, Dana (15 November 2002). "FILM REVIEW; An Older, Wiser Wizard, But Still That Crafty Lad". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  39. ^ Travers, Peter (15 November 2002). "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  40. ^ 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. 
  41. ^ "BAFTA Nominees and Winners 2003 – The Pianist Tops the List". About.com. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  42. ^ Moro, Eric (5 March 2003). "The 29th Annual Saturn Awards Nominations – Feature Film Category". Mania.com. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 

External links[edit]