October 20, 2000
Watch Out Harry!
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Teenage wizard Harry Potter (news - web
sites) will get a chance to test his magic against the enduring appeal of the Hobbit next
year when film versions of both JK Rowling's bestseller and JRR Tolkien's classic hit the
"These two films will be going head to head,'' Adrian Bourne, managing director of
the trade division of HarperCollins Publishers, told Reuters at the Frankfurt book fair
Bourne said HarperCollins, which has world rights to Tolkien's works and has just secured
the tie rights for any books that appear with the film, hopes for a major boost to sales
of the "Lord of the Rings'' trilogy.
"We could see a five-fold increase in sales in "Lord of the Rings,'' "The
Hobbit'' and the other works,'' he said, but declined to specify how many copies are
currently sold a year. ''The same kind of readers will be coming to us who read Harry
Bourne said the trilogy was being filmed in New Zealand in consultation with the artists
who designed the current covers for the book and would feature a mixture of live action
and computer generated effects.
The first film, "The Fellowship of the Ring,'' is due for release ahead of Christmas
next year and includes Ian McKellen playing Gandalf and Hollywood teen star Elijah Wood as
Frodo Baggins. Two more will follow in subsequent years.
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,'' widely seen as the most eagerly awaited
children's film in a decade, is also due on screens late next year.
Rowling's tales of a fearless young wizard have stirred mania in playgrounds and
publishing houses, but Bourne said the Harry Potter hype was overdone.
"I think Harry Potter is a one-off. It has been picked up as a cult but I think it is
a bit optimistic to say it is going to revive reading,'' he said.