* Warner Bros. launches major UK Harry Potter studio tour
* Great Hall, Dumbledore's office, among star sets
* Potter revenues to continue long after final film
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON, Oct 3 Wave a wand and a ladle across the
room turns in a cauldron. Move your hand and a knife starts to
Warner Brothers aims to recreate the magic of the Harry
Potter movies with a major tour at its newly renovated Leavesden
Studios on the outskirts of London, with the attraction due to
open next spring.
The Hollywood studio behind the record-breaking franchise
has relocated the original Great Hall at Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry, and visitors will be treated to a
surprise entrance into the towering set.
There they can admire the attention to detail in which the
production crews on the eight movies took great pride -- from
the elaborate "stonework" of the outer walls to graffiti carved
into wooden tables by students.
There will be no floating candles -- that particular piece
of magic was conjured by computers, but many of the characters,
props, costumes and settings were real-life.
Among the highlights will be the giant spider Aragog
suspended from the ceiling, and fans will be able to pose for
photographs in one of the "flying" Ford Anglia cars used in
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets".
The sharp-toothed "The Monster Book of Monsters" has been
dusted off, and Buckbeak the "Hippogriff" is getting a
meticulous makeover for when the doors of the attraction open.
The studios and neighbouring tour space are currently little
more than a giant building site, with only a few of the main
attractions in place including the shell of the great hall.
Journalists were shown around the site recently as Warner
cranked up the publicity ahead of tickets for "Warner Bros.
Studio Tour London -- The Making of Harry Potter" going on sale
on Oct. 13.
They will cost 21 pounds per child, 28 pounds per adult and
83 pounds for a family of four, and up to 5,000 visitors are
expected to be able to take the three-hour tour each day.
Tickets must be ordered in advance.
The venture underlines how the Potter phenomenon looks set
to go on generating revenue long after the July release of the
eighth and final film.
Author J.K. Rowling has also launched the Pottermore website
which will allow people to navigate the Potter world and shop
for merchandise including, for the first time, e-book versions
of the adventures.
A posting on the website said the Pottermore Shop would not
open until the first half of 2012, later than expected.
John Richardson, who won an Oscar for his work on the 1986
movie "Aliens" and was special effects supervisor on the Potter
films, demonstrated the wand and hand "tricks" and a number of
other devices he developed.
"There are so many kids and so many adults who have grown up
with Harry Potter, it's an opportunity for them to be close to
all things Harry Potter and at the same time give the public the
chance to see what goes into making a movie," he told Reuters.
While famous sets like the Great Hall, Dumbledore's office,
the Gryffindor common room and Potter's cupboard under the
stairs are being rebuilt, the outer shells will be kept as they
were during filming -- scaffold, wood and plaster.
And despite stressing the craftsmanship that went into
making the sets, props and costumes for the movies, there will
be an area demonstrating the possibilities of green screen
Outside the cavernous warehouse will be a reconstruction of
4 Privet Drive where Harry grew up and of the bridge at
Visitors will enter the site via a small cinema where they
will see a short film about the facility before moving on to the
Those tempted to walk off with the cutlery or crockery from
the dining tables in the Great Hall beware. As if by magic,
weight sensors will trigger an alarm.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)