Harry Potter and the Greatest Movie Posters That Never Existed…

As we covered in our earlier blog post ‘The Harry Potter / Wizarding World Films - In The Order You Should Watch Them’, Warner Brothers paid $1M to secure the film rights to the first four Harry Potter novels.

Starting in 2001 with “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (released in the U.S. as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) they transported us to fantastical places, faithfully recreating the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling – and what about that movie poster!!!


An original movie poster by Drew Struzan for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


When you are planning the world’s greatest fantasy series, who do you call to capture the magic in movie poster form? Drew Struzan of course.

As his work on the multiple episodes of Star Wars and Back to The Future had shown, this was the man to capture movie goers imaginations and tie a film series and its branding together.

That first poster showed how…


A close up from the Drew Struzan poster for Harry Potter and the Phliosopher's Stone


As the second film came to fruition and posters for “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” began to appear, something had changed…


An original movie poster for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets An original movie poster for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


… gone was the magic and sense of adventure of an illustrated poster. In its place, photography-based posters. Perfectly serviceable. Very functional. But without the spark of their predecessor.

What had happened? In Drew’s own words (from his 2010 book “The Art of Drew Struzan”)...

“Warner Bros got a new head of worldwide advertising. And whenever you get a new guy, he wants to flush everything approved by the previous regime.”

Whoever it was, they got it wrong. Drew again…

“… I had been preparing to live with Harry Potter for six [or more] movies; I was really getting into it. At the point they killed me, I couldn’t let it go and went ahead and painted the finished version of the sequel for my own satisfaction. I had to complete it…”

What a poster!


An unused poster by Drew Struzan for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


We can only imagine what the entire set of Harry Potter posters by Drew Struzan would have looked like...

It is safe to say, they would have looked amazing.



(It was worth a try.)


You can read more of Drew’s stories and see many of his preparatory sketches in the superb “The Art of Drew Struzan” (Amazon UK / US). We thoroughly recommend it.

You can also take a look at more posters by Drew Struzan here


Adam the Art of the Movies team

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