Steven Spielberg Explains His Decision to Turn Down the First Harry Potter Film

Yes, it was Stephen Spielberg who was tapped to kick-start the Harry Potter film franchise, but he refused! Arguably dubbed as the most successful director ever, there’s no wonder that Steven Spielberg was the first choice for the director while the studio execs were planning to turn the popular novels into a film series. But Spielberg refused the offer. The veteran director recently revealed the real reason behind his decision.

The Offer

Turning down the opportunity of directing the Harry Potter films might seem like a wrong move for any director in the industry. But despite the allure of being a vital part of a highly potential film franchise, Steven Spielberg decided not to go with it at that moment. The 76-year-old director recently revealed that he was offered the first installment of the franchise, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, two decades ago. Finally, Home Alone-famed Christopher Columbus took the job. The film became a globally successful franchise, making over $965 million alone after its 2001 release. During the following years, the other seven movies raked in over $9 billion in total.

The Refusal

Despite this decade-defining success of the film franchise, Steven Spielberg doesn’t regret turning down the opportunity. As he told the media, he personally experienced the tearing conflict between family and art after establishing himself as a working director and a successful filmmaker. During the Harry Potter offer, Spielberg was just starting a family with his wife Kate Capshaw. So, he had to choose between staying with his family and moving to another country for four to five months to direct the film. According to Spielberg, the choice was hard, but finally, he sacrificed a great franchise and also a few other movies to spend time with his family, cherishing his young kids growing up. The happy family man has no regrets looking back on that decision and it didn’t make Stephen Spielberg any less legendary of a director!