A look back at this day in film history
July 31
JK Rowling July 31, 1965
J.K. Rowling born

In the age of the blockbuster, the video game, the text message, and the social network, one person, arguably, ensured that a new generation has experienced one old-fashioned cultural necessity: the delicious anticipation and immersive magic of reading a good book. J.K. Rowling, born July 31, 1965, is the author of the Harry Potter novels, the wildly successful children's fantasy books that have, yes, launched video games and tentpole movies, but, more importantly, have also created long lines of young people outside bookstores on each of their release dates. In an interview for Boston.com, Betsy Groban, vice president and publisher of Houghton Mifflin's children's division, said, "[Rowling] revolutionized publishing for middle-graders and above. Harry Potter made it cool to read a big, fat, complicated book. Before Harry Potter, that sort of book was the hardest sell."A report published in Scholastic and developed in collaboration with Yankelovich went further: "According to the study, both kids and their parents credit the popular books with getting more kids to read for fun and with helping kids do better in school. Just over half (51%) of Harry Potter readers ages 5-17 years old say they did not read books for fun before they started reading Harry Potter, but now they do, and 65% say they have been doing better in school since they started reading the series. Parents see an even greater impact. The vast majority of parents (89%) say that reading Harry Potter has helped their child enjoy reading more, and 76% say that reading Harry Potter has helped their child do better in school." With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh book in the series published in July, 2007, the series came to a close, although the films are still being released. Along with praise from educators, the Harry Potter series has also been denounced from some conservative critics who see the books as espousing witchcraft. Rowling's response? "I've met thousands of children now, and not even one time has a child come up to me and said, 'Ms. Rowling, I'm so glad I've read these books because now I want to be a witch.' "

More Flashbacks
July 31, 1992
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Released

Alan Ball’s True Blood may be the hit vampire TV series of the moment, but the recent upswing in undead popular entertainment can perhaps be traced back to the original feature film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which opened July 31, 1992.

Read more »
31 July 1992
Boffo Buffy

On this day, a movie opened that would change to course of film history as we knew it — Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Read more »