Chris Columbus (not to be confused with that one guy who sailed the ocean blue) was the lucky director who got to bring us the first and second Harry Potter films.
Columbus started his career as a screenwriter working on 80's classics like Gremlins and Goonies, but he had gone on to direct other family-friendly films like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. This guy had a record of producing crowd-pleasing films and working with kids? Hollywood had found their man.
Another thing producers liked about Columbus—he wouldn't put his own mark on the movie. Okay hear us out on this one. When you think about other famous directors—Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese—they all have a style you recognize instantly. When you think of a Chris Columbus film, what do you imagine? Just a simple, straight-forward movie that's fun for the whole family.
For the first few Potter films at least it was pretty important to find a director who could deliver a kid-friendly product that was true to the books so that fans wouldn't start rioting in the streets. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had introduced everyone to the magic and wonder of Hogwarts. Now, Chamber of Secrets had to keep that same enchanted atmosphere but introduce some slightly more sinister themes.
Now, as the Potter books and films would get darker, it would make sense to bring in new directors. Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates would all add their own unique flair to the films that Chris Columbus made.