Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film, which is the third instalment in the Harry Potter film series, was written by Steve Kloves and produced by Chris Columbus (director of the first two instalments), David Heyman, and Mark Radcliffe. The story follows Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts as he is informed that a prisoner named Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban intending to kill him.
The film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, alongside Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. It also features well-known actors in supporting roles, including Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon (in his debut in the role of Albus Dumbledore), Emma Thompson and Timothy Spall. It is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and is followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
The film was released on 31 May 2004 in the United Kingdom and on 4 June 2004 in North America, as the first Harry Potter film released into IMAX theatres and to be using IMAX Technology. It is also the last Harry Potter film to be released on VHS. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Original Music Score and Best Visual Effects at the 77th Academy Awards in 2005.
Prisoner of Azkaban grossed a total of $796.7 million worldwide, making it the second highest grossing film of 2004 and received praise for Cuarón's direction and the performances of the lead actors. It marked a notable change in the film series' tone and direction and is considered by many critics and fans to be the best Harry Potter film.