It's been 20 years since "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" first landed on bookshelves on June 26, 1997. Since then, the series of seven J.K. Rowling books has launched an extremely successful movie franchise (the second-highest-grossing of all time, after only the Marvel Cinematic Universe), launched several spinoffs and made the titular boy wizard one of the most iconic characters in literary history. It's also dominated almost every other corner of pop culture — from theater and athletics to tourism and the pet industry. Wonderwall.com is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Potterverse by taking a look back at all the ways Harry Potter has dominated pop culture over the past two decades, starting with the films, in which Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint starred from 2001 to 2011. Now keep reading for more!
In 2001, J.K. Rowling released "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" — a textbook detailing magical creatures from the Potterverse — under the penname Newt Scamander. (Both the fictional magizoologist and his textbook were first referenced in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.") The real book — which was designed to resemble Harry's fictional textbook, complete with a faux sticker on the cover reading, "Property of: Harry Potter" — made the New York Times best sellers list.
The Harry Potter film franchise was such a huge success that it launched a spinoff, the 2016 prequel "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which chronicles the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander in New York City during the 1920s and is based on the eponymous 2001 textbook, which was first referenced in 1997's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone." Eddie Redmayne stars as the fictional wizard alongside Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol.
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The "Harry Potter" film franchise won its first Oscar in 2017 when Colleen Atwood took home the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design for her work on "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." The costumer wasn't aware of the distinction until reporters asked her about it backstage during the awards ceremony. "That's shocking because there's so much incredible artistry in the 'Harry Potter' movies," she said. "I can't believe they never won…"
Harry Potter has been referenced countless times in other films and on various TV shows over the years. The reference we love the most, though, pops up in the hit 2006 dramedy "The Devil Wears Prada." Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly gives Anne Hathaway's Andy Sachs the impossible task of obtaining a copy of the unpublished manuscript of the new Harry Potter book for her twin daughters. "Well, we know everyone in publishing, so it shouldn't be a problem, should it?" she memorably asks. Andy saves her job by going above and beyond to accomplish the assignment, natch!
In 2001, J.K. Rowling released the handbook "Quidditch Through the Ages" under the penname Kennilworthy Whisp. (Both the fictional Quidditch expert and his handbook were first referenced in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.") The real book is designed to resemble Harry's fictional copy, complete with a faux red stamp on the cover indicating that the text is "Property of Hogwarts Library."
Quidditch is now a real sport — and you don't need magic to play! According to the International Quidditch Association, which was founded by college kids in 2009 as the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association, the fictional sport was adapted for real life at Middlebury College in Vermont in 2005. It's now played around the globe, like in Muenster, Germany, where members of two opposing teams faced off on Nov. 6, 2016.
In the 2013 comedy "The Internship," Owen Wilson's Nick and Vince Vaugh's Billy team up with fellow interns played by Tobit Raphael, Josh Brener, Tiya Sircar and Dylan O'Brien for a super-competitive game of Quidditch. The match is just one in a series of competitions, the results of which determine which interns will be hired by Google.
In June 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida. The park brings to life the Potterverse, replicating several environments from the book and film franchises, including Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and Ollivander's Wand Shop. Versions of the park have since opened in Japan and Hollywood (pictured).
Rachel Dratch memorably portrayed Harry Potter in sketches spoofing the Potterverse on "Saturday Night Live." In 2002, she appeared alongside Lindsay Lohan as Hermione Granger and Seth Meyers as Ron Weasley in a bit poking fun at the fact that the trio had reached puberty.
"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" debuted at London's Palace Theatre (pictured) in July 2016. The two-part play — which was written by English playwright and screenwriter Jack Thorne — takes place 19 years after "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and follows Harry's younger son, Albus Severus Potter, as he gears up for his first year at Hogwarts. It was a huge hit and broke records for the most nominations (11) and wins (nine) during the Laurence Olivier Awards, which recognize excellence on the London professional theater scene. A Broadway production of the award-winning play will reportedly open at the Lyric Theatre in New York City in April 2018.
On July 31, 2016, Scholastic released the "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" script. According to the publisher, more than 2 million hardcover copies of the text were sold in the first 48 hours, which they called "unprecedented for a script book." (Here, two young fans are seen picking up their copies at a midnight book launch at Waterstones book store in Swindon, England.)
In 2012, the Warner Bros. Studios Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter opened in Leavesden, England. The permanent exhibit, which spans two soundstages on the active WB studio lot, is open to the public and has attracted guests from around the globe. Potterheads can explore sets like Diagon Alley (pictured) and get an up-close look at props and costumes from the beloved film franchise during the tour.
The 2007 comedy-adventure "Epic Movie" skewers some of our favorite films — from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "X-Men" franchises to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and, of course, "Harry Potter"! Jayma Mays, Adam Campbell, Faune Chambers, Kevin McDonald (in a Gryffindor robe), Crista Flanagan (as a pregnant Gryffindor) and George Alvarez appeared in one scene inspired by the Potterverse.
In 2008, J.K. Rowling released "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," a collection of five children's fairytales set within the Potterverse that were first referenced in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."
Voldemort made an appearance during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. He-who-shall-not-be-named dueled Mary Poppins (yes, seriously) in a segment highlighting characters from popular British children's literature. A troupe of women dressed as Mary Poppins descended from the top of London Stadium to defeat the 100-foot inflatable version of the Dark Lord as part of the Danny Boyle-directed production.
You can eat like Harry Potter too! Jelly Belly produces the Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans in real life. Each pack contains an assortment of normal flavors (blueberry, cinnamon, green apple, etc.) and bizarre or disgusting flavors (booger, earwax, rotten egg, dirt, etc.) based on the fictional candies. The candy brand also produces jelly slugs and chocolate frogs.
Unfortunately, not every way that the "Harry Potter" franchise has dominated pop culture has been positive: In 2012, the BBC reported that the number of abandoned pet owls being rescued by bird sanctuaries had increased dramatically since the late '90s and early aughts. "There has always been a market for pets for owls for many years, but since 'Harry Potter' came out the increase probably doubled or tripled overnight," one sanctuary worker told the BBC. (Harry has a pet snow owl named Hedwig in both the book and film franchises, but real owls are far less docile and much more difficult to care for than the fictional bird.)
Warner Bros. had tremendous success with the "Harry Potter" franchise — and the competition took note. Studios rushed to get the rights to adapt other popular youth-skewing book series in the wake of Pottermania. If it weren't for the boy wizard, we wouldn't have adaptations of "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games" — think about it!