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
Richard Harris
Kenneth Branagh
Jason Isaacs
Christian Coulson
Robbie Coltrane
Music by John Williams
William Ross
Conrad Pope
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)
14 November 2002 (2002-11-14) (United States)
15 November 2002 (2002-11-15) (United Kingdom)
Running time 161 minutes
174 minutes (extended version)
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $100 million
Gross revenue $878,643,482[1]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a 2002 fantasy-adventure film 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, and is written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry’s best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The supporting cast features Richard Harris, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs, Christian Coulson and Robbie Coltrane.

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.[1] It was nominated for three BAFTA Film Awards in 2003.



Further information: Chamber of Secrets Plot

Preparing for a visit from Uncle Vernon Dursley’s boss, the Dursleys banish Harry to his room. Harry finds Dobby the house elf, who warns against returning to Hogwarts. When Harry refuses, Dobby 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 reach Hogwarts with the flying car, 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 tells the boys they will receive detention.

Shortly after the start of term, Harry begins hearing an ominous voice. 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. The three brew Polyjuice Potion to disguise themselves as Malfoy’s friends Crabbe and Goyle. They learn that Malfoy is not the Heir.

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 Slytherin, a connection that causes the school to believe Harry is the Heir.

In a bathroom Harry finds a book with nothing written in it that belonged to someone named Tom Marvolo Riddle. Through the 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 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 bathroom and enter to find a giant snake skin. Lockhart tries stopping Harry and Ron using a memory charm, but it backfires because he is using Ron’s broken wand. 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. Tom tells Harry that he is taking over Ginny’s soul so that he may regain power. Harry learns that Tom 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 the mouth, killing it as a fang pierces Harry’s arm.

Harry destroys the memory of Tom 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 Dobby serves the Malfoys, Harry tricks Lucius into freeing him from servitude. Everyone who had been petrified is restored.


Further information: List of Harry Potter films cast members


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, as 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.[2] Filming finished in the summer of 2002.[3]

Hugh Grant is said to have been the first choice for the role of Gilderoy Lockhart but due to reported scheduling conflicts he was unable to play the character.[4] On 25 October 2001, Kenneth Branagh was selected as Grant’s replacement.[5]

Differences from the book

The only significant deviations from the literary canon are the effects of the Polyjuice Potion, and the absence of the Deathday Party of Sir Nicholas that Harry, Ron, and Hermione attend.[6] In the book, the Potion causes the drinker to assume the exact appearance of the target, including their voice and any disabilities (such as poor eyesight). In the film, while the potion alters Harry and Ron’s appearance, their voices are left unchanged to reduce confusion.


Box office

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets premiered in the UK on 3 November 2002 and in the United States 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. 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.[7] 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.[8] It went on to make £54.8 million in the UK, the fifth biggest tally of all time at the time.[9]

The film made a total of $879 million worldwide,[1] which made it the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time.[10] It was the second highest-grossing film of 2002 behind The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers worldwide.[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 82% “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] Dana Stevens 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] and HD DVD versions of the film were released alongside a bare-bones single-disc DVD release with minimal special features.[citation needed] 8 December 2009 saw the release of the Ultimate Edition, featuring new footage, TV spots, and a continuation of the documentary from the first ultimate edition.[24]



On 14 January 2003, Chamber of Secrets won the award for Best Live Action Family Film in the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards. It was nominated for seven Saturn Awards including for Best Director, Best Fantasy Film and Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Daniel Radcliffe. The film was nominated for four BAFTA Awards and a Grammy Award for John Williams’ score.

The film’s soundtrack was released on 12 November 2002, three days before the film was released. As with the first film, John Williams composed the score, but Williams was unable to do a complete score because of schedule conflicts with Steven Spielberg‘s Catch Me If You Can. Williams hired composer William Ross to adapt themes from the first film, put them in Chamber of Secrets in places that they would fit, conduct and write new material (if needed). A video game based on the film was also released on 14 November 2002, a day before the film was widely released.


  1. ^ a b c “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)”. Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=harrypotter2.htm. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  2. ^ ‘Harry Potter Filming Locations’ at Gloucestershire On Screen
  3. ^ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Greg’s Preview. Yahoo! Movies[dead link]
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ “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. 
  6. ^ Dadds, Kimberly; Miriam Zendle (9 July 2007). “Harry Potter: books vs films”. Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/a64205/harry-potter-books-vs-films.html?page=2. Retrieved 14 September 2007. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ “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. 
  9. ^ “All time box office”. Sky is Falling. http://www.sky-is-falling.co.uk/archives-alltime.html. Retrieved 22 September 2007. [dead link]
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ “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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