It all began with British producer David Heyman and Warner Bros, both eager to find a children's book to spin into a hit movie franchise, stumping up a cool £1 million ($1.6 million) to bag the rights to Rowling's first four Harry Potter novels in 1999. By the end of that year, Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban had already cemented Harry as a literary phenomenon, so Hollywood was rubbing its hands in anticipation of translating that success to the big screen.
Directors such as Terry Gilliam (allegedly a Rowling favourite), Jonathan Demme and Steven Spielberg were all initially scouted out for the director's gig - in fact, Spielberg pitched his take on Potter as an animated movie with Haley Joel Osment providing the voice of Harry.
For Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, a wide net was cast to find three unknown Brits to fill the sough-after roles. Daniel Radcliffe had previously starred in a David Copperfield TV movie and as Geoffrey Rush's son in The Tailor of Panama before landing the titular role, Emma Watson leapt from school productions to Hermione and Rupert Grint won the part of Ron after answering a casting call on Newsround.
Filming took place from October 2000 to April 2001 and Philosopher's Stone held its world premiere on November 4, 2001 at London's Leicester Square. A $90 million (£56.1 million) opening weekend in the US, besting the box office record set by Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World, made the movie a hit and sent the cast and crew into sequel Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in high spirits.
> Harry Potter complete coverage
Move through our Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone gallery below: