Hard as it is for us Olds to believe, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out 20 years ago this month. (In fact, it opened in the U.S. 20 years ago tomorrow.) The version of the film that opened in theaters on November 16, 2001 had a runtime of 152 minutes, which is pretty long for a kids’ movie. But director Chris Columbus’ first rough cut of the film was even longer.
According to Columbus, this early rough cut spanned three full hours and included a character or two who was completely removed from the final, released version, like the ghost Peeves. In an interview with TheWrap, Columbus explained that he knew the film was working because when they previewed the three-hour version for audiences “parents afterwards said it was too long, the kids said it was too short. I thought, well, the kids presumably have a shorter attention span so this is a good thing.”
Columbus also agreed with TheWrap when they suggested that Warner Bros. should release this three-hour cut of the film. “We have to put Peeves back in the movie, who was cut from the movie!” Columbus said.
Given how efficiently (or ruthlessly) Warners has exploited the Harry Potter franchise through the years, it’s kind of surprising they haven’t tried releasing this longer version as a “director’s cut” or “ultimate version.” How many millions of dollars did New Line make with the Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings? Granted, that was an older audience to some extent — little kids might not want to sit through a three-hour Harry Potter — but it’s hard to believe hardcore Hogwarts fans wouldn’t pay for a Blu-ray of this. If there was an audience for the Snyder Cut, there’s got to be an audience for the Peeves Cut.