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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a fantasy adventure film, based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. Directed by David Yates, produced by David Heyman's company Heyday Films, and written by Michael Goldenberg, it is the fifth film in the popular Harry Potter film series. The story follows Harry Potter in his fifth year at the magic school Hogwarts. The Ministry of Magic refuses to believe the return of Lord Voldemort and appoints bureaucrat Dolores Umbridge as a teacher at the school.

Live-action filming took place in England and Scotland for exterior locations and Leavesden Film Studiosmarker in Watfordmarker for interior locations from February to November 2006, with a one-month break in June. Post-production on the film continued for several months afterwards to add in visual effects. The film's budget was reportedly between £75 and 100 million ($150–200 million). Warner Bros., the distributor of the film, released it in the UK on 12 July 2007, and in North America on 11 July, both in conventional and IMAX theatres, and was the first Potter film to be released in IMAX 3-D.

It is the unadjusted seventh-highest grossing film of all time, and a critical and commercial success, acclaimed as "the best one yet" by Rowling, who has consistently offered praise for the film adaptations of her work. The film opened to a worldwide 5-day opening of $333 million, fourth all-time, and grossed $939 million total, second to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End for the greatest total of 2007.

Plot

Harry Potter and his cousin Dudley Dursley are attacked by Dementors, but Harry drives them off with a Patronus charm. The Ministry of Magic detects the underage wizardry and expels Harry from Hogwarts, but this is modified to a trial later in the summer. Harry is later awoken by the arrival of a number of wizards who escort him to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organisation founded by Dumbledore. Harry learns that under the Ministry's influence The Daily Prophet has launched a campaign against anyone who claims that Lord Voldemort has returned.

Harry and Arthur Weasley head to the court for Harry's trial. With the help of Dumbledore and Harry's neighbour, Mrs. Figg, Harry is cleared of all charges and returns to school. Upon arrival, Harry sees creatures pulling the carriages to Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville share a carriage with Luna Lovegood, an odd but kind girl who claims she can also see the creatures. The Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, a senior Ministry official who refuses to teach practical magic, as the Ministry fears Dumbledore will organise his own wizard army. For claiming Voldemort has returned, Harry is forced to write, "I must not tell lies," repeatedly in his own blood, creating a scar on his hand.

Harry sees Luna in the forest with the creatures that pulled the Hogwarts carriages. She tells him that they are called Thestrals and can only be seen by those who have seen death. Luna mentions that the Thestrals are very gentle, but people avoid them because of their evil looks.

As Umbridge's control over the school increases, Ron and Hermione aid Harry in forming a secret group to train students in defensive spells, calling themselves "Dumbledore's Army". The Slytherin students are recruited by Umbridge to uncover the group. Meanwhile, Harry and Cho develop romantic feelings for each other.

Harry has a nightmare involving an attack upon Arthur Weasley in the Department of Mysteries that echoes an actual attack. Fearing Voldemort will exploit his connection to Harry, Dumbledore instructs Professor Snape to give Harry Occlumency lessons to block his mind from Voldemort's influence.

Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius Black's deranged cousin, escapes from Azkaban along with nine other Death Eaters. At Hogwarts Umbridge, Filch and her Inquisitorial Squad uncover Dumbledore's Army after illegally interrogating Cho with Veritaserum. Dumbledore is questioned and escapes as Fudge orders his arrest. With Dumbledore gone, Umbridge becomes the new Headmistress.

With Hagrid likely to be fired due to Umbridge's prejudice against "half-breeds", he shows Harry, Ron and Hermione Grawp, his Giant half-brother. Hagrid asks them to take care of Grawp if anything happens to him.

During an exam the Weasley twins revolt and set off fireworks in the Great Hall, causing chaos for Umbridge. Harry has a vision of Sirius being tortured by Voldemort within the Department of Mysteries. Harry, Ron, and Hermione rush to search for Sirius, but Umbridge catches them and begins interrogating Harry, where she slaps him across the face when he claims that he was not trying to reach Dumbledore. Hermione deceives Umbridge into entering the Forbidden Forest along with Harry and her in search of a weapon, leading her to the hiding place of Grawp only to find him missing. Centaurs, who have their own issues with the Ministry, emerge and carry the Headmistress into the darkness after she attacks them. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, Neville and Ginny fly to the Ministry of Magic on the Thestrals' backs to save Sirius.

six enter the Department of Mysteries, where they uncover a prophecy involving Harry and Voldemort, but are ambushed by Death Eaters including Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. Lucius reveals that Sirius isn't in any danger and that Harry only saw what Voldemort wanted him to see. Lucius attempts to persuade Harry to give him the prophecy, telling him it will reveal why Voldemort tried to kill him when he was an infant. Harry refuses and a fight between Dumbledore's Army and the Death Eaters ensues. The Death Eaters take everyone except Harry as hostages, threatening to kill them if he does not surrender the prophecy. The Order of the Phoenix appears and attacks the Death Eaters. Lucius drops the prophecy, destroying it. A battle erupts and Bellatrix kills Sirius. Harry corners Bellatrix in the Atrium and attempts to torture her with the Cruciatus Curse, but to no avail. Voldemort appears, tempting Harry to give in to his hatred for Bellatrix. Harry turns his wand on Voldemort who disarms him. Before Voldemort can kill Harry, Dumbledore emerges.

A duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore ensues. After it ends in a stalemate Voldemort attempts to possess Harry but is repelled by the love Harry has for his friends and Sirius. Ministry officials arrive via the Floo Network moments before Voldemort disapparates. Fudge is forced to admit that Voldemort has returned. Harry is vindicated, Umbridge is suspended, and Dumbledore returns as headmaster.

Dumbledore explains that he distanced himself from Harry all year hoping it would lessen the risk of Voldemort using their connection. Harry comes to terms with the prophecy; he or Voldemort will kill the other. Going home for the summer, Harry tells his friends that they have one thing Voldemort does not have: love, something worth fighting for.

Cast

  • Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, the protagonist. He has to battle with much of the Wizarding world's denial over Harry's encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort at the end of the previous year. He teaches his friends to defend themselves in duels.
  • Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, one of Harry's best friends. He helps Harry found Dumbledore's Army and accompanies Harry to the Department of Mysteries in the climax of the film.
  • Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, one of Harry's best friends. She helps Harry found Dumbledore's Army and accompanies Harry to the Department of Mysteries in the climax of the film.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, Harry's nemesis, who lures Harry to the Ministry of Magic and nearly kills him.
  • Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster. He upsets Harry by remaining distant from him throughout the year, but explains at the end of the film why he isolated himself. He also explains the meaning of the prophecy to Harry after duelling with Lord Voldemort in the climax of the film.
  • Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, the main antagonist and new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, a plant from the Ministry of Magic who prevents Harry and his friends from learning practical magic, and refuses to allow Harry to claim that Lord Voldemort has returned.
  • Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, Harry's godfather who, during the battle at the Department of Mysteries, is murdered by his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange, causing Harry great emotional damage.
  • Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Lord Voldemort's right-hand Death Eaters who leads the battle at the Department of Mysteries. As early as August 2005, rumours began linking Helen McCrory to the role of Bellatrix Lestrange. On 2 February 2006 it was announced that McCrory had indeed been cast as Bellatrix. However, in April 2006 she revealed that she was three months pregnant and withdrew from the film because she would not have been able to perform the intense battle sequences in the Ministry of Magic in September and October 2006. The announcement that Bonham Carter had been recast in the role was made on 25 May 2006.


Casting

Casting began as early as May 2005, when Radcliffe announced he would reprise his role as Harry. Across the media frenzy that took place during the release of Goblet of Fire, most of the main returning actors announced their return to the series, including Grint, Watson, Lewis, Wright, Leung, and Fiennes.

A number of characters new to the series appear in the film. Staunton announced she would be playing the major new role of Dolores Umbridge in October 2005, and the announcements of the casting of the rest of the new characters to the series was spanned across 2006. Evanna Lynch won the role of Luna Lovegood over 15,000 other girls who attended the open casting call, waiting in a line of hopefuls that stretched a mile long.

The inclusion or cutting of some characters sparked speculation from fans as to the importance of the characters in the final book of the series, which was released just ten days after the film. In April 2006, representatives of Jim McManus said he would be playing Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus' brother and the barman of the Hog's Head, in which Harry and his friends found the D.A. A week later WB announced that the role was "very minor", allaying some of the speculation to the significance of the role, which, before the final book, was not even a speaking part. MTV reported in October 2006 that Dobby the house elf, who appeared in the second film, Chamber of Secrets, and in the fifth book, would be cut, opening up "plot questions" as to how the role of the elf would be filled. MTV also reported about a month before the release of the final book that Kreacher, the Black family's house-elf, was cut from the film in one draft of the script. However, after Rowling prodded the filmmakers to include him, saying, "You know, I wouldn't [cut him] if I were you. Or you can, but if you get to make a seventh film, you'll be tied in knots", he was added back into the script.

Other minor roles were cut with subsequent drafts of the script. At the U.S. premiere of Goblet of Fire, series producer David Heyman said that former Hogwarts professor Gilderoy Lockhart, played by Kenneth Branagh in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was in the first draft of the script for Phoenix. However, neither Branagh nor the character of Lockhart appears in the final version. Tiana Benjamin was scheduled to return for the film in the role of Angelina Johnson, the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, but she had to withdraw due to a commitment to playing Chelsea Fox in EastEnders. The character, as well as the entire Quidditch subplot, was ultimately cut from the film. She did, however, record sound clips for the Order of the Phoenix video game.

The family of footballer Theo Walcott made a cameo role in the film. Theo himself was due to appear as well, though his commitments to Arsenal forced him to pull out.

Production

David Yates was chosen to direct the film after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell, as well as Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Matthew Vaughn and Mira Nair, turned down offers. Yates believed he was approached because the studio saw him fit to handle an "edgy and emotional" film with a "political backstory", which one of his previous projects, the television drama Sex Traffic, demonstrated. Steve Kloves, the screenwriter of the first four Potter films, had other commitments, and Michael Goldenberg filled in and wrote the script for the film.

Rehearsals for Order of the Phoenix began on 27 January 2006, filming began on 6 February, and finished in the end of November 2006. Filming was put on a two-month hiatus starting in May 2006 so that Radcliffe could sit his A/S Levels and Watson could sit her GCSE exams. The film's budget was reportedly between GB£75 and 100 million (US$150–200 million). The largest budget of the other films in the series has been the £75 million it cost to make Goblet of Fire.

Mark Day was the film editor, Sławomir Idziak was the cinematographer, and Jany Temime was the costume designer. Choreographer Paul Harris, who has previously worked with David Yates several times, created a physical language for wand combat to choreograph the wand fighting scenes.

Set design

Stuart Craig returned as set designer, having designed the first four films' sets. There were a number of notable new sets in this film. The atrium in the Ministry of Magic is over 200 feet in length, making it the largest and most expensive set built for the Potter film series to date. Craig's design was inspired by early London Underground stations, where, he said, architects "tried to imitate classical architecture but they used ceramic tile", as well as a Burger King on Tottenham Court Roadmarker in London, where "there's a fantastic Victorian façade which just embodies the age". The set of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place contains the Black family tapestry spread across three walls; when the producers told Rowling they wanted to visualise the details of each name and birth year, she faxed them a complete copy of the entire tree. The set of the Hall of Prophecies was entirely digitally built. During a fight scene which occurs there, prophecies crash to the ground and break; had it been an actual physical set, the reset time would have been weeks.

The set used for Igor Karkaroff's trial scene in Goblet of Fire was doubled in size for Harry's trial in this film, while still protecting its symmetry. New professor Dolores Umbridge, though she teaches in a classroom that has appeared in films two through four, inhabits an office vastly different from those of her predecessors. The set was redressed with "fluffy, pink filigree" and a number of plates upon which moving kittens were animated in post-production. A 24-hour photo shoot was held to photograph and film the kittens for use on these plates. The quill which Umbridge gives Harry to write lines is designed by the set designers.

Filming

Though the producers explored options to film outside of the UK, Leavesden Film Studiosmarker in Watfordmarker was again the location on which many of the interior scenes, including the Great Hall, Privet Drive and Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place were shot.

Locations in England included the River Thames, for the flight of the Order of the Phoenix to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, and the flight of Dumbledore's Army to the Ministry of Magic. This sequence also includes such landmarks as the London Eyemarker, Canary Wharfmarker, Big Benmarker, Buckingham Palacemarker, and the HMS Belfastmarker. Filming at Platform 9¾ took place at King's Cross Stationmarker, as it has in the past. A telephone booth near Scotland Yardmarker was used as Harry and Arthur Weasley enter the Ministry, while the crew closed the Westminster tube stationmarker on 22 October 2006 to allow for filming of Arthur Weasley accompanying Harry to his trial at the Ministry of Magic. Other scenes were filmed in and around Oxfordmarker, specifically at nearby Blenheim Palacemarker in Woodstockmarker.

In Glenfinnanmarker, the Hogwarts Express crosses a viaduct, as it has in the past films. Aerial scenes were shot in Glen Coemarker, in Clachaig Gully, and Glen Etivemarker, which, at the time of filming, was one of the few places in Scotland without snow, making it ideal for a backdrop.

Several locations were used which do not appear in the final cut of the film. In Virginia Watermarker, scenes were shot where Professor McGonagall recovers from Stunning Spells, and Burnham Beechesmarker was used for filming the scene where Hagrid introduces his fifth-year Care of Magical Creatures class to Thestrals. Harry skips stones in front of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Monument in Glenfinnanmarker in another cut scene.

Visual effects

The film required over 1,400 visual effects shots, and the London-based company Double Negativemarker created more than 950 of them. Working for six months on previsualisation starting in September 2005, Double Negative was largely responsible for sequences in the Room of Requirement, the Forbidden Forest, the Hall of Prophecies, and the Death Chamber.

A new character in the film, Grawp, Hagrid's giant half-brother, came to life by a new technology called Soul Capturing, developed by Image Metrics .com. Instead of building the character from scratch, the movements and facial expressions of actor Tony Maudsley were used to model Grawp's actions. Changes in the appearances of the Dementors and Patronuses were made by Yates, wanting to stray from Cuaron's vision of them.

Soundtrack

Nicholas Hooper was the composer for the soundtrack of the film, following John Williams, who scored the first three films, and Patrick Doyle, who did the fourth. In the new score, Hooper incorporated variations on "Hedwig's Theme", the series' theme originally written by Williams for the first film and heard in all subsequent ones. In March and April 2007, Hooper and the London Chamber Orchestra recorded nearly two hours of music at Abbey Road Studiosmarker in London. The score, like the film and book, is darker than previous instalments in the series. To emphasise this, the two new main themes reflect the sinister new character Dolores Umbridge, and Lord Voldemort's invasion of Harry's mind. A Japanese Taiko drum was used for a deeper sound in the percussion. The soundtrack was released on 10 July 2007, the eve of the film's release. For his work on the film, Hooper was nominated for a World Soundtrack Discovery Award. The trailer prominently features the cues "Divine Crusade" by X-Ray Dog and "DNA Reactor" by Pfeifer Broz. Music.

Differences from the book

At 766 pages in the British edition and 870 in the American edition, Order of the Phoenix is the longest Harry Potter book in the series. Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg described his task to cut down the novel as searching for "the best equivalent way to tell the story. My job was to stay true to the spirit of the book, rather than to the letter". Goldenberg said that Rowling told him, the producers, and Yates that "she just wanted to see a great movie, and gave [them] permission to take whatever liberties [they] felt [they] needed to take to translate the book into a movie she would love". Cutting down the book to meet the time frame of the film, Goldenberg explained, became "clearer when [he] figured out that the organizing principle of the screenplay was to narrate Harry's emotional journey". He and Yates "looked for every opportunity to get everything [they] could in there. And where [they] couldn't, to sort of pay homage to it, to have it somewhere in the background or to feel like it could be taking place off-screen".

One cut Goldenberg had to make, which he "hated" to do, was the absence of Quidditch, the Wizarding sport. "The truth is that any movie made of this book, whoever made it, that had included the Quidditch subplot would have been a lesser film", he said. In the book, Ron grows as a character by trying out for the Quidditch team. "Ron facing challenges and coming into his own in the same way that Harry is, we tried to get that into the film in other ways, as much as possible. So, you feel like, if not the details of that story, at least the spirit of it is present in the film". The change disappointed actor Rupert Grint who had been "quite looking forward to the Quidditch stuff".

In a significant scene in the book, Harry sees a memory of his own father humiliating Snape in their school days, and Snape insulting his mother after she stood up for him. In the film, it is abbreviated to an "idea", in Goldenberg's words. "It's an iconic moment when you realize your parents are normal, flawed human beings. ... Things get trimmed out, but I kept the sausage of that in there — and that was what really gave me the coming-of-age story." Young Lily Potter did not appear at all, but promotional screenshots show unknown teenager Susie Shinner in the role.

The scene at St Mungo's, the hospital where Harry and friends run into classmate Neville Longbottom and learn that his parents were tortured into insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange, was cut because it required the construction of a new set. The main purpose of the action of the scene was relocated to the Room of Requirement after one of the D.A. lessons. Also, to speed up the film's climax, several events in the Ministry leading up to Harry's battle with Voldemort were removed, including the brain room. Mrs. Weasley's encounter with a boggart at Grimmauld Place, Ron, Hermione and Malfoy becoming prefects, the appearance of Mundungus Fletcher (member of the Order, and the thief who eventually steals Slytherin's locket discarded in Grimmauld Place), and Firenze teaching Divination followed suit.

The character of Kreacher the house-elf, who was included in the script only at Rowling's request, has a larger part in the book than the film. In the novel, he is seen saving some of the Black family's artifacts which the Order of the Phoenix throw away, one of which is a locket which becomes extremely important in the seventh book. "It was kind of tricky to raise that in our story, because it's for so much later", Yates said. "We figured we can probably introduce it later, and that's the approach we took". Whilst Kreacher remained, all scenes involving Dobby were cut, and his important actions given to other characters.

Rita Skeeter, the journalist played by Miranda Richardson in Goblet of Fire, was also removed. In the book, Hermione blackmails her into writing articles that support Harry as the rest of the Wizarding world denies his claims. Richardson noted that "it's never gonna be the book on film, exactly. ... They'll take certain aspects from the book and make it something that they hope is going to be commercial and that people want to see".

Distribution

Marketing

An advertisement for the film on a London bus.
The first trailer was released on 17 November 2006, attached to another WB film, Happy Feet. It was made available online on 20 November 2006, on the Happy Feet website. The international trailer debuted online on 22 April 2007 at 14:00 UTC. On 4 May 2007, the domestic trailer was shown before Spider-Man 3.

Two posters released on the Internet that showed Harry accompanied by six classmates, including Hermione Granger, generated some controversy by the media. They were essentially the same picture, though one advertised the IMAX release. In one poster, the profile of Hermione, played by Emma Watson, was made curvier as the outline of her breasts was enhanced. Melissa Anelli, webmistress of noted fan site The Leaky Cauldron, wrote:

Representatives for WB later wrote about the poster under fire, "This is not an official poster. Unfortunately this image was accidentally posted on the IMAX website".

The video game version, designed by EA UK, was released 25 June 2007. Lego produced just one set, a model of Hogwarts, the lowest amount of sets for a film so far. NECA produced a series of action figures, whilst a larger array of smaller figures was also produced by PopCo Entertainment, a Corgi International company.

Release

The film was the third Harry Potter film to be given a simultaneous release in conventional theatres and IMAX. The IMAX release featured the full movie in 2-D and the final 20 minutes of the film in 3-D. According to estimates in March 2007, by Warner Bros., the film would debut on over 10,000 theatre screens during the summer.

The film was released in most countries in a two-week period starting 11 July 2007. WB has tried to stick with day-and-date releases for most countries "except in the Middle East and a few minor markets, because most are going to be in holidays at that point". The set of summer releases, even though the films are typically released in the winter, "really maximizes our opportunity", said a representative for WB.

Previews of the film began in March 2007 in the Chicagomarker area. Under tight security to prevent piracy, WB had security guards patrol the aisles, looking for cell phone cameras or small recording devices, at a preview in Japan. The world premiere took place in Tokyomarker, Japan on 28 June 2007. MySpace users could bring copies of their online profiles to gain free admission to sneak previews in eight different cities across the country on 28 June 2007. The UK premiere took place on 3 July 2007 in Londonmarker's Odeon Leicester Squaremarker, during which author J. K. Rowling made a public appearance. The U.S. premiere took place on 8 July in Los Angeles. After the premiere, the three young stars of the film series, Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson, were honoured with a ceremony where their handprints, footprints, and "wandprints" were placed in the cement in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatremarker.

Originally, Warner Bros. set the Australian release date as 6 September 2007, nearly two months after the majority of other release dates. However, after complaints from the Australian community, including a petition garnering 2,000 signatures the date was pulled back to 11 July 2007. The release dates of the film in the UK and U.S. were also moved back, both from 13 July, to 12 July and 11 July, respectively.

Even though the book is the longest in the series (over 800 pages), the film is 139 minutes long (2hours and 19 minutes), the shortest in the entire film series.

DVD & Other Media

A 2-disc special edition DVD, as well as a fullscreen and a widescreen edition of the film was released on 12 November 2007 in the U.K., 14 November 2007 in Australia, and 11 December 2007 in the US and Canada, with the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of the film occurring on the same date in each respective country.

The DVDs included additional scenes, a feature showing a day in the life of Natalia Tena, who played Nymphadora Tonks, an A&E documentary about the films and books, and a featurette on film editing in Phoenix. The DVD-ROM features a timeline and a sneak peek of the next film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). The HD DVD and Blu-ray contain additional features, such as the "in-movie experience", a video commentary in which members of Dumbledore's Army share their favourite moments from the production of the film, and "focus points" featurettes on how certain scenes of the film were made. Order of the Phoenix was the seventh best-selling DVD of 2007, with 10.14 million units. The high-definition DVDs had combined sales of 179,500 copies, with more units coming from the Blu-ray version.

There was also a third DVD with extras featuring a behind the scenes look at the sets of the movie. This can only be found in those purchased at Target stores (Future Shop in Canada) as it is a Target exclusive. The package included a one-time-only code that activated a digital copy of the film, which may be played on a computer with Windows Media Player. The digital copy however is not playable on Macintosh or Apple Inc.marker iPod devices. This issue has been partially addressed, as the film is currently available on the iTunes Store in the UK, but not the US.

Reaction

Critical reception

The film generally received positive reviews. The film currently holds a 77% "Certified Fresh" approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. While this is a positive score, it is the least favourably reviewed of the six Harry Potter films on the site. It also has a score of 71 out of 100 on Metacritic, the fourth highest rated after Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince. Charles Frederick of The Telegraph headlined their review "Potter film is the best and darkest yet". Colin Bertram of the New York Daily News gave the film four out of four stars, calling it the best Potter film yet and wrote that "die-hard Potter addicts will rejoice that Yates has distilled J. K. Rowling's broad universe with care and reverence". Mark Adams of The Sunday Mirror, while giving the film four out of five stars, called it "a dark and delicious delight [and] a must-see movie". Rene Rodriguez of The Miami Herald gave the film three stars out of four and wrote that the film "is the first installment in the soon-to-be series-of-seven that doesn't seem like just another spinoff capitalising on the money-minting Harry Potter brand name. Instead, Phoenix feels like a real 'movie'".

Imelda Staunton's performance as Dolores Umbridge and Helena Bonham Carter's as Bellatrix Lestrange were widely acclaimed; Staunton was described as the "perfect choice for the part" and "one of the film's greatest pleasures", "coming close to stealing the show". The Daily Mail described Staunton's portrayal of Umbridge as a "refreshing addition", with the character herself described as "a cross between Margaret Thatcher and Hyacinth Bucket". Bonham Carter was said to be a "shining but underused talent". Variety praised Alan Rickman's portrayal of Severus Snape, writing that he "may have outdone himself; seldom has an actor done more with less than he does here". Newcomer Evanna Lynch, playing Luna Lovegood, also received good word from a number of reviewers including the New York Times who declared her "spellbinding".

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also lauded the three principal actors' achievements, especially Radcliffe: "One of the joys of this film is watching Daniel Radcliffe grow so impressively into the role of Harry. He digs deep into the character and into Harry's nightmares. It's a sensational performance, touching all the bases from tender to fearful". Rolling Stone's review also classified the film as better than the previous four instalments in the series, by losing the "candy-ass aspect" of the first two and "raising the bar" from the "heat and resonance" of the third and fourth. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the film "the best of the series so far, [with] the laughs, the jitters and the juice to make even nonbelievers wild about Harry".

Leo Lewis of The Times (London) expressed disappointment that the three main actors were not able to fully advance the emotional sides of their respective characters, weakening the film. The San Francisco Chronicle complained about a "lousy" storyline, alleging that the first twenty minutes of the film, when Harry is put on trial for performing magic outside of school and threatened with expulsion, but is cleared of all charges, did not advance the plot. Kirk Honeycutt of the The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Phoenix is "quite possibly the least enjoyable of the [series] so far", and that despite "several eye-catching moments", "the magic – movie magic, that is – is mostly missing". The review also criticised the under use of the "cream of British acting", noting the brief appearances of Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, David Thewlis, Richard Griffiths, and Julie Walters.

Box office

The film opened to a worldwide 5-day opening of $333 million, the fourth-biggest opening of all time, behind Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. In the United States, tickets for hundreds of midnight showings of the film, bought from online ticket-seller Fandango, were sold out, making up approximately 90% of the site's weekly ticket sales. In the U.S. and Canada, midnight screenings (very early morning on 11 July) brought in $12 million from 2,311 midnight exhibitions making the showings "the most successful batch of midnight exhibitions ever". In one-night earnings, Phoenix is behind only At World's End, which had debuted four hours earlier on its date.

In the U.S. and Canada, Phoenix earned an additional $32.2 million on Wednesday, post-midnight showings, making it the biggest Wednesday single-day gross in box office history, with a total of $44.2 million from 4,285 theaters. That amount tops Sony Pictures' Spider-Man 2, which had held the record since 2004 with its $40.4 million take on a Wednesday. It is also the fifth-biggest opening day for a movie in history, surpassing At World's End's $42.9 million. It earned $1.9 million from a record-breaking 91 IMAX screens, the highest opening day ever for any IMAX day of the week, beating Spider-Man 3's $1.8 million. In the U.K. the result was similar. The film made £16.5 million during its opening 4-day run, breaking the U.K. box office record for the biggest 4-day opening weekend ever.

Phoenix's domestic gross is at $292.0 million in the U.S. and Canada, and at £49.2 million, or $101.4 million in the U.K. Overseas, it has grossed $646.5 million, the fifth highest-grosser ever overseas, for a worldwide total of $938.5 million making it the second highest-grossing film of the year closely behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End's $961 million gross. It became the sixth highest grossing film in history at the time, the second-highest grossing Potter film worldwide, and the second Potter film to break the $900 million mark. It is the seventh-highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing 2007 film in Australia and the UK. IMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that the film has made over $35 million on IMAX screens, worldwide, with an impressive per-screen average of $243,000 making it the highest grossing live-action IMAX release in history. In South Africa the film opened at number 1 with a total of $944,082.00, being screened at 87 theatres.

Awards

Before it was released, Order of the Phoenix was nominated in a new category at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet. However, that award was won by Transformers. On 26 August 2007, the film won the award for Choice Summer Movie – Drama/Action Adventure at the Teen Choice Awards.

The film was also nominated for several awards at the 2007 Scream Awards presented by Spike TV, in the categories of The Ultimate Scream, Best Fantasy Movie, and Best Sequel. Daniel Radcliffe was nominated in the Fantasy Hero categories, respectively. The film won for Best Sequel and Ralph Fiennes won for "Most Vile Villain". The film picked up three awards at the inaugural ITV National Movie Awards, taking Best Family Film, Best Actor for Radcliffe and Best Actress for Emma Watson. The film was one of ten nominees for a 2007 Hollywood Movie of the Year. It was also nominated for Best Live Action Family Film at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and won the 2007 People's Choice Award for "Favorite Movie Drama". Having been nominated for six awards at the 2008 Sony Ericsson Empire Awards, organised by Empire, including Best Film, Yates won Best Director.

Nicholas Hooper received a nomination for a World Soundtrack Discovery Award for his score to the film. Imelda Staunton was nominated in the "British Actress in a Supporting Role" category at the London Film Critics Circle Awards. At the 2008 BAFTA Awards, the film was nominated but did not win for "Best Production Design" and "Best Special Visual Effects". Order of the Phoenix was also nominated for the awards from the Art Directors Guild and Costume Designers Guild, and was awarded for "Outstanding Special Effects in a Motion Picture" by the Visual Effects Society out of six nominations.

References

External links




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