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OSCARS: Production Designer Stuart Craig — ‘Harry Potter’

By | Monday February 20, 2012 @ 2:35pm PST

Anthony D’Alessandro is a contributor to AwardsLine

When it comes to staging an epic, leave it to production designer Stuart Craig. As the set architect behind the entire Harry Potter series, his work on Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 called for blueprints displaying the remnants of a near-apocalyptic battle, specifically one that took its toll on Hogwarts Castle. Given those ambitious demands, the VFX artists took over, rendering the first complete virtual rendition of Hogwarts over the sets constructed in earlier films. “My work required the same drawings, but instead of giving my designs to the carpenters, I gave them to the VFX team instead,” Craig says. Read More »

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Art Directors Guild Winners: ‘Hugo’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Dragon Tattoo’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Hugo, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo took the Art Directors Guild Awards for period, fantasy and contemporary movies tonight in ceremonies hosted by Paula Poundstone at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Production Designer Tony Walton received the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Hall of Fame inductees were Robert Boyle, William Darling, and Alfred Junge. Teams from the Harry Potter films were recognized for Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery: Executive Producer David Heyman, Producer David Barron; directors Christopher Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, and David Yates; creator and author J.K. Rowling; screenwriters Steve Kloves and Michael Goldenberg; production designer Stuart Craig; art director Neil Lamont and set decorator Stephenie McMillan.

The Guild also screened two short films by Cindy Peters. The first was a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the show. The second, 75 Years of Inspirational Design: A Personal Reflection in Eight Chapters featured production designers Albert Brenner, Terry Marsh, James D. Bissell, Jeannine Oppewall, Rick Carter, Rick Heinrichs, Roy Christopher and Guy Hendrix Dyas. The ceremonies were produced by Tom Wilkins and Greg Grande. Full list of winners follows:


Period Film
HUGO Production Designer: Dante Ferretti

Fantasy Film

HALLOWS PART 2 Production Designer: Stuart Craig

Contemporary Film

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO Production Designer: Donald Graham Burt


One-Hour Single Camera Television Series

Television Movie or Mini-Series
MILDRED PIERCE Production Designer: Mark Friedberg

Episode of a Half Hour Single-Camera Television Series
Episode: Express Christmas – Production Designer: Richard Berg

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Final ‘Harry Potter’ Movie And HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ Win SAG Stunt Awards

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 29, 2012) – The stunt performers and coordinators from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and “Game of Thrones” are recipients of this year’s Screen Actors Guild Honors for Outstanding Action Performances by Film and Television Stunt Ensembles, it was announced today from the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet by Screen Actors Guild Awards Committee Chair JoBeth Williams and Awards Committee Member Scott Bakula.

Screen Actors Guild’s Stunt Ensemble Honors commend work within the stunt community during 2011 and recognize stunt performers and coordinators.

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‘Final Destination 5′ Is First For UltraViolet In The UK; Will British Users Have Clearer Picture Than In The U.S.?

On December 26, Warner Bros’ Final Destination 5 will become the first UltraViolet-enabled title to be released in the UK via DVD, Blu-ray and Triple Play. From then on, all of the studio’s future home entertainment releases in the UK — including Happy Feet Two, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and The Dark Knight Rises — will fall under the UltraViolet “buy once, play anywhere” scheme. As with its practice in the U.S., Warner will offer the streams via Flixster.

Warner Bros was the first to release UV titles in the U.S. back in October with Horrible Bosses and Green Lantern. Although I was told by a Warner UK spokesman that there is no industry evidence as yet on the impact of the added UltraViolet aspect, the Associated Press today reports that consumers of those earlier films found the system didn’t work as expected. Warner Bros UK spokeswoman Deborah Lincoln, who had not read the AP report but was aware of certain complaints, tells me the confusion was largely related to the fact that those first titles didn’t have download ability to certain devices — which she assured me was not going to be the case in the UK. In part, she said, the confusion may have come from early media reports regarding UltraViolet touting it as an anytime, anywhere technology for all devices including IOS — … Read More »

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Tesco Launches Digital Locker With ‘Deathly Hallows 2′ DVD Release

Continuing to ramp up its interests in the movie biz, UK supermarket giant Tesco is launching its own version of a digital locker with an initiative that will allow customers who buy a physical DVD or Blu-ray in-store to also have access to the content online. Tesco is launching the service in conjunction with digital movie service Blinkbox, in which the retailer acquired a majority stake earlier this year. The program starts with the release of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 on DVD and Blu-ray at midnight tonight in the UK. The service is open to all Tesco Clubcard customers who link their Clubcard and Blinkbox accounts. Clubcard’s a fidelity program that allots points for money spent at Tesco supermarkets which are then redeemable for Tesco products.

Along with Harry Potter, there are 24 other titles currently available including The Hangover Part 2, The Smurfs and Conan The Barbarian. Once physically purchased, the titles will be available for viewing through Blinkbox on PCs, Macs, PS3, LG and Samsung Smart TV and soon on Xbox 360 and the iPad. Tesco calls the bundling initiative a first for the industry. It somewhat echoes the Ultraviolet system, which provides access to content across multiple platforms and has the participation of most of the major studios, VOD providers and … Tesco Entertainment. In the past year, Tesco moved deeper into the movie biz by partnering with Amber Entertainment to make feature versions … Read More »

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Big Media 3Q Corporate Earnings Roundup: Are CEOs Really Worried About Recession? Or Just Looking For Convenient Excuse?

Three months ago, when Big Media CEOs wrapped up their 2Q earnings, they were still relentlessly upbeat about the business. Any worries about the economy? Not then. But the messages they delivered over the past few weeks, as they discussed 3Q, were different. Although they’re still optimistic — remember, they’re paid to be salesmen — now and then you could hear expressions of concern about where things are headed. It stood out when Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman noted that “ad sales growth will face some headwinds.” Other CEOs who are known for speaking bluntly warned that other shocks may bedevil the business. For example, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said that his satellite company — and others in pay TV — have to fight harder against rising programming costs because “there’s a limit to the price increases that could be passed on to consumers.” Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt warned that premium channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz “are clearly impacted by the economy as consumers try to cut back.” Either they’re genuinely worried, or they want a scapegoat to blame for things that are going bad, or may soon do so. Whatever the case, we can expect to hear a lot more about the economy when it’s time for the post-mortem on the all-important 4Q earnings.

As for industry performance matters, parents of movie studios had their usual mixed results to brag about or explain away: Time Warner benefitted from Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2. Viacom was up on Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. And News Corp beat its chest about Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and X-Men: First Class. But Disney’s Cars 2 was no match for last year’s Toy Story 3. Comcast’s Universal Pictures had nothing to compare to last year’s Despicable Me. Lionsgate suffered from Conan The Barbarian and Warrior. And DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 didn’t contribute as much in the quarter as Shrek Forever After did in the same period last year.

Over at the TV networks, Comcast’s NBC underperformed the Street’s already modest expectations. Execs at almost all the companies were eager to talk about the cash they expect to collect soon from political ads — as well as their favorite new ATM machines: retransmission consent deals and digital streamers including Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Speaking of Netflix, CEO Reed Hastings once again tried to reassure investors that he’s focused on “building back our reputation and brand strength” after his decision in July to slap a 60% price increase on customers who wanted to continue to rent DVDs and stream videos. In 3Q Netflix lost 57.7% of its market value and 800,000 subscribers. And since that customer loss was bigger than projected, Netflix shares continued to fall — they’re now down 67.3% since July 1.

Here are some other themes from the latest earnings reports:

Ad sales: They’s good, but for how long? Most television networks report that scatter prices are comfortably above the upfront market from this past summer. CBS chief Les Moonves says prices in 4Q are up by “mid-teens” on a percentage basis, while Discovery says it sees least high single digit percentages. But Disney’s Bob Iger noted that scatter prices have “slowed slightly these last few weeks.” Kurt Hall of National CineMedia — the leading seller of ads in movie theaters — was far more direct when he spoke to analysts after ratcheting down his company’s financial forecasts. “I’m sure that the broadcast and cable guys are sitting there now counting their lucky stars they got their upfront done before August,” he told analysts. “There’s a lot of uncertainty.” Read More »

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UPDATE: Time Warner Tells Skeptical Investors That Cable Nets Will Improve

UPDATE, 8:45 AM: Time Warner shares are down 2.5% in early trading: Investors already knew that Harry Potter was a hit, and expected more from the cable networks. Time Warner tried to show the Street some love by accelerating its share repurchases — it spent $1.1B in 3Q — which enabled the company to raise its earnings-per-share growth estimate for 2011 to “high teens” from the previous “at least low teens.” But CEO Jeff Bewkes used his conference call with analysts to cheer-lead what he says will be a company-wide benefit from the growing global interest in high quality content. He says that CW (which Time Warner co-owns with CBS) recently cut “game-changing” deals with Netflix and Hulu. “It adds money to the ecosystem,” he says, especially as the digital services license old and serialized shows that are hard to syndicate. “There’s plenty of room for us to do deals if the people who want to buy (shows) can afford it.” Although the company acknowledged that it’s been disappointed by recent ratings at TBS and TNT, it expects that to change. In the first two weeks, re-runs of The Big Bang Theory have raised ratings at TBS, which Bewkes says should lead to “big improvement” in 4Q and 2012. “We think it’s going to continue to build and help the lead-in to Conan.” He says that the cable nets have had a hard time finding successful sitcoms to buy, although that’s changing. Warner Bros has four of the top seven now on TV. “We’ve never had so many successful comedies on the air at one time,” he says. The company says the loss of NBA games in 4Q will be immaterial; although it won’t have their big audiences, it also won’t have the big costs. Bewkes says he’ll look at adding NFL football to the mix. “We would not do it as a loss-leader” he says but adds that “it would be a giant move, if we made the move.” Time Warner says that ad prices in the scatter market are up high-single to low-double digits over upfront.

PREVIOUS, 4:55 AM: The entertainment giant will be talking a lot about its movies and TV shows today after Warner Bros’ record-setting quarter helped to make up for a slowdown in cable network growth and a decline in publishing. Time Warner had net income of $822M, up 58.1% vs last year, on revenues of $7.1B, up 10.8%. Earnings at 79 cents a share were well ahead of the 76 cents that the Street expected. Filmed entertainment revenues were up 19% to $3.3B powered by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and license fees from The Big Bang Theory, although home video was down. The cable networks, which include Turner Broadcasting and HBO, saw a 7% increase in revenues to $3.2B. Read More »

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Movie Ticket Prices Are Up, But People Spent Less In 3Q For 3D

Is the price of movie tickets falling? Of course not. It may not look that way in 3Q: The average amount that consumers spent was $7.94, down from $8.06 in 2Q, the National Association of Theatre Owners reports today. But the numbers tend to bounce around from quarter to quarter, due in part to whether there are 3D films compelling enough to lead consumers to pay up for the higher-priced tickets. Last quarter was light, although it included Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Disney’s The Lion King 3D. The pricing picture becomes clearer when you step back to look at averages over time: The average for the first nine months of 2011 is $7.96, up 1% from all of 2010 and 6% from 2009. Regal also recently reported that its average ticket price was $8.78 in 3Q, up 1.9% vs the same period last year.

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Latest ‘Transformers’ Passes Last ‘Lord Of The Rings’ As #4 Box Office Film of All Time

So the Top 5 order now for all-time box office worldwide grosses (but not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices or 3D premiums) is:

1. Avatar 2D (Fox – 2009) $2.7B

2. Titanic 2D (Fox/Paramount – 1997) $1.8B

3. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 3D (Warner Bros – 2011) $1.3B

4. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon 3D (Paramount – 2011) $1.119B

5. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (New Line/Warner Bros – 2003) $1.1B

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Warner Bros Crosses $2B At International Box Office

Warner Bros Pictures International said today that it has eclipsed the $2 billion mark in overseas box office, the fourth time the division has surpassed that benchmark. Last year, the unit grossed a record $2.93 billion — this year, the studio is ahead of that pace by two months. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 led the way, with the finale becoming the top-grossing film of the franchise and the third-highest international release of all time, grossing $857 million and counting. Warner Bros still has Contagion, J. Edgar, Happy Feet Two, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and New Year’s Eve, among others, on its fourth-quarter docket.

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Harry Potter Finale Now 2011′s Biggest Film

BURBANK, CA, August 9, 2011 – Warner Bros. Pictures’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 has now become the top-grossing release of 2011 in all categories: domestic box office, international box office and worldwide box office. The announcement was made today by Warner Bros. Pictures President of Domestic Distribution, Dan Fellman, and President of International Distribution, Veronika Kwan-Rubinek. The last installment of the blockbuster motion picture franchise has broken numerous box office records around the world in just under a month since its July opening. As of August 8, the film had earned $344.8 million domestically and $801.5 million internationally, for an astounding worldwide box office gross of $1.146 billion, making Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 the third-highest-grossing film worldwide of all time.

Veronika Kwan-Rubinek stated, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 can truly be called a global phenomenon. The filmmakers and cast, who dedicated their talents to the success of these films for over a decade, share in this piece of cinema history. We congratulate and thank them all.”

Dan Fellman said, “This is another incredible milestone for the last chapter of this historic film series, and for the Harry Potter franchise as a whole. In a crowded and very competitive summer, it is a tribute to both the film and the people behind it that

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Report: Plummeting Disc Sales Depress Home Video Business in 1H 2011

A spokesman for DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group says the trade organization didn’t deliberately choose a Friday afternoon to release its dreary new report about consumer spending on home entertainment in the first half of 2011. But from a PR perspective it probably doesn’t hurt to bury news that shows VOD and electronic distribution still can’t make up for the collapse in sales of DVDs. The headline number is that consumer spending on all forms of home video — including DVD and Blu-ray disc sales and rentals, VOD, and online — fell 5.1% vs the first half of 2010 to $8.3B. Last year, spending fell 3.3% in the first half of 2010. DEG says this year’s drop isn’t so bad because last year included Avatar. (It seems that the blockbuster was good enough to include last year when it made sales look strong, but is supposed to be treated as an anomaly now that it makes comparisons look weak.) Still, there’s no getting around the steep decline for DVDs. Consumers bought nearly $3.9B worth of DVD and Blu-ray content, down 18.3% vs the first half of 2010. At this time last year, disc sales were off 7.1% vs. 2009. DVDs are the culprit: Although DEG only reports figures for “packaged goods,” it notes that Blu-ray sales are up more than 10%. Read More »

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More Records For ‘Harry Potter’ Finale

‘Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2′ Crosses $1B

Warner Bros announced today that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is now the highest-grossing WB film of all time internationally after just 19 days of release. Ranking #1 internationally for the third consecutive weekend, confirmed weekend grosses came in slightly ahead of projections on Sunday at $66.6M with 7.4M admissions from 14,500 screens in 60 territories, representing an overall drop of -47% from the previous weekend. The international cume to date is now $690.4M. Key market results (sorted by cume to date):

UK  $88.7M
Japan $66.6M
Germany $61.2M
France $49.8M
Australia $47.4M
Russia $33.5M
Mexico $32.9M
Brazil $32.4M
Italy $29.3M
Korea $24.3M
Spain $18.8M

Upcoming releases: China (August 4th)

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‘Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2′ First To Cross $1B In Warner Bros Franchise

BURBANK, Calif. — Continuing its record-breaking run, Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” has surpassed $1 billion at the worldwide box office, becoming the first in the series—and just the ninth film in cinema history—to reach that benchmark. The announcement was made today by Warner Bros. Pictures President of Domestic Distribution, Dan Fellman, and President of International Distribution, Veronika Kwan-Rubinek.

Adding to the records already achieved, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” tied the record for the fastest climb to $1 billion. The finale of the blockbuster motion picture franchise crossed the billion dollar mark on Sunday, July 31, only its 17th day in release in North America, as well as most international markets. The film has now earned an estimated $318.46 million domestically and an estimated $690 million on the international side for a worldwide total to date of approximately $1.008 billion, already making it, globally, the top-grossing film in Warner Bros. Pictures’ history.

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UPDATE: RealD Shares -14.5% In After-Hours Trading Even As CEO Michael Lewis Talks Up Prospects For 3D

UPDATE, 3:05 PM: The Street doesn’t seem to be buying CEO Michael Lewis’ claim that all’s well with RealD and 3D. RealD shares have lost 47.3% of their value from May 19, when co-founder Joshua Greer resigned as president, to the end of trading on Thursday. The stock will have its lowest closing ever tomorrow if it doesn’t improve from today’s after-hours trading price of around $15.75. Although Lewis says that “the economy’s under duress” causing consumers to second-guess the high 3D ticket prices, RealD will be fine if exhibitors and studios decide to charge less. “Our fees are locked for the term of the contract,” he says. He avoided answering a question about whether 3D tickets will typically account for between 40% and 60% of domestic box office — in June he said he didn’t see a trend when Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 opened close to that range. Lewis did say, though, that the numbers could improve as theaters have additional 3D screens and releases don’t open “on top of each other.”

PREVIOUS, 1:18 PM: The leading provider of 3D projection technology reported net profits in the June quarter of $9.4M, down 4.6% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $59.6M, down 7.7%. Earnings at 17 cents a share far exceeded the 4 cents that Wall Street analysts expected. But they also thought that RealD would end its fiscal 1Q with $78.9M in revenues. Read More »

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IMAX Blames Bad Films For Dramatic 2Q Earnings Decline

UPDATE, 6:40 AM: In a conference call with analysts, CEO Rich Gelfond continued to talk up future opportunities while acknowledging that “like you we’re not happy” with recent box office sales. He’s talking to studios about making films available to IMAX venues before they open elsewhere and is “optimistic about obtaining a title in the not-too-distant future.” He’s also considering making a bigger bet on potential blockbusters by reducing the number of films IMAX shows each year. No decision has been made but “my own vote is for less (films) with longer lead times.” Gelfond also will change the mix of films IMAX runs: “Our audience is more of a fanboy-driven audience than a family-driven audience, so we are going to make an adjustment.” Gelfond says he’s excited about a new digital laser projection technology he hopes to introduce in 2013 that would brighten screen images and reduce costs on bulbs. He’s not sure, though, whether he’ll accomodate director Peter Jackson’s effort to have his upcoming film The Hobbit shown at 48 frames per second vs the industry average of 24 fps. “We’re in discussions with Warner as to whether it makes sense,” he says.

PREVIOUS, 4:55 AM: Not a happy quarter for IMAX. The large-screen theater company reported 2Q net income of $1.8M, down 86.5% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $57.2M, up 3%. After adjusting for stock compensation and deferred taxes, earnings came in at … Read More »

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NO WEAKLING: ‘Captain America’ $65.8M; But Is He Summer’s Biggest Superhero? Harry Potter #2, ‘Friends With Benefits’ #3

SUNDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: Wait a minute — aren’t all the superheroes in San Diego at Comic-Con? With so much news from the Con coming hourly all weekend, it’s been tough to keep up with North American box office where yet another superhero pic unreeled this summer. Distributor Paramount had been expecting Marvel/Disney’s Captain America: The First Avenger to open with a $60+M weekend. But the studio on Sunday said the actual total is $65.8 million (even though rival studios put the total much less). Paramount’s figure would better this summer’s original superhero Thor’s $65.7M. But I believe we’ll have to wait until Monday’s actuals to decide who is the biggest superhero of the summer since Sunday’s number is just an estimate right now. As a Paramount exec replied to my questioning his number, “Harry Potter fell 16% last Sunday. We are estimating down 17%. Whether it ends up $65.8M or a little less, it crushed Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class” — both of which were this summer’s superhero movies but made and distributed by different studios (Warner Bros and Fox respectively). Saturday’s take for Captain America of $21.9M was -10% from Friday’s $25.7M North American grosses from 3,715 theaters including around 2,500 showing the movie in 3D. Friday’s take includes $4M midnights from 2,000 locations, better than Thor and Green Lantern as well as prequel/reboot X-Men: First Class. The movie earned an ‘A-’ CinemaScore. (Thor earned a B+). Exit polls showed 43% … Read More »

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Hammond On Oscar: Can ‘Harry Potter’ Finally Crack The Best Picture Race?

Pete Hammond

This weekend Harry Potter proved he can rule the worldwide box office in a big way but can he wave his magic wand at the Academy and get a Best Picture nomination to put a cherry on the Potter pie? “The Academy has never really favored us in that way before. I’m just happy that people seem to be liking the movie,”  David Yates, director of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II told me on the eve on Potter’s phenomenal opening.  Last week  I also asked the same question of Chris Columbus , director of the first two Harry Potter flicks. Does he think now that the final chapter has been written on the most successful franchise in film history that the Academy will finally recognize it with a prized Best Pic nod?  “You never know about these things,”  he said shrugging his shoulders but considering the Oscar track record of the previous seven Potters I could tell he wasn’t putting money down on the prospect anytime soon.

But why not?  Although the Academy historically shuns this type of film and doesn’t favor fantasy, sci-fi or kid flicks you can point to the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and say there is an exception to every rule.  Between 2001 and 2003 the three Rings films racked up a total of 30 Oscar nominations including an unprecedented three Best Picture nods  … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2′

The 2nd trailer for the final Harry Potter film was released today. (Here‘s the first one from April.) Warner Bros is releasing the film in the U.S. on July 15.

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