Here comes news with big potential implications for the legions of Harry Potter fans binging the movies during their coronavirus quarantines: A 3D, 4K remastered version of the series’ first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, has been created by Warner Bros. The only surprising thing, perhaps, is the intended first market: China.
The news, posted by Warner Bros. to the Chinese social networking site Weibo, was delivered via the phrase “Magic is coming!” The first film in the Potter series came out in 2001 and has never been presented in 3D before, as the most recent 3D boom followed the release of Avatar in 2009. Directed by Chris Columbus of Home Alone, Sorcerer’s Stone projects a carefree, jovial tone that is much unlike the more dour, adult Potter adventures that followed as the protagonists aged. Back in 2001, the existence of magic alone was cause enough for whimsy.
China, meanwhile, has seemingly stemmed the rate of new coronavirus/COVID-19 infections, and the powerful socialist government seems eager to bring daily life back to some sort of status quo, dangerous though this may be in terms of presenting an opportunity for further outbreaks. To that end, China has already announced plans to begin opening the cinemas once again, possibly as early as the end of March. The Sorcerer’s Stone release would follow, although no exact date has been set. Deadline also reports that some of the first films to return to theaters would be recent Chinese mega-hits such as Wolf Warrior 2 and The Wandering Earth. The country’s theater industry is already devastated, having missed the Lunar New Year, one of the most lucrative periods for theater attendance in China.
For U.S. audiences, though, the existence of the remastered, 3D cut of Sorcerer’s Stone makes one wonder when American Potter geeks might be able to get a look at the new cut, and whether remastered versions of subsequent films would follow. The first film in the Potter series to have any kind of 3D treatment was Order of the Phoenix, but all the subsequent entries were only partially 3D, with the work completed entirely in post-production. This version of Sorcerer’s Stone might well be the first top-to-bottom 3D version of a Potter film, and American audiences will certainly be curious to see it … not to mention a remastered version of The Prisoner of Azkaban, while we’re at it.
We’ll bring you more news on the 3D Harry Potter re-release as it breaks.