In November of 2001, the world was invited to a breathtaking new world of witchcraft and wizardy that has proven to be incomparable to its legions of fans ever since.
Coming four years after J.K. Rowling’s first novel was released, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (known in North America as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) flew into cinemas across the globe, making $32.3 million on its opening day in the US and breaking the single day record previously held by Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The film went on to be number one in its opening weekend, and held that spot for the following three consecutive weeks.
The success of the first film set up the releases and subsequent success of seven more, concluding Rowling’s story in 2011 with the final chapter: The Deathly Hallows – Part 2. In this edition of Ranked, we’re counting down all eight franchise releases from worst to best, or more appropriately from good to excellent, in order to establish which of the 2000s’ biggest franchise will go down in history as the best ever.
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8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Franchise Entry No. 5
Following his ordeal with Voldemort in The Goblet of Fire, Harry’s physical connection with the evil wizard starts to show. As he gets ready to fight his sworn enemy, Hogwarts is taken over and tickled pink by the frustrating and evil Professor Umbridge, played superbly by Imelda Staunton, who aims to put an end to Harry’s plans.
This film ranks at the bottom of this list more because it reads as somewhat of a stop-gap between the better Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince movies, though it does offer more than enough to keep up the momentum of the franchise both as an over-arching narrative and an audience spectacle.
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Franchise Entry No. 2
The second of the eight-film series is perhaps the most imaginative and ridiculous.
After his first year at Hogwarts, Harry returns and is exposed to even more wondrous magic and secrets about his past. Kenneth Branagh proves to be a sublime addition to the franchise as Gilderoy Lockhart, and he helps to maintain the high level of humour on offer in this second instalment. Meanwhile, Harry’s discovery of Tom Riddle leads him to uncover more about his parents and the history of Hogwarts, whilst opening his eyes to his nickname; The Boy Who Lived.