The original version, which was shown to test audiences before the film was released, includes around half an hour of extra footage that never made it into the finished product.
Speaking to The Wrap in a recent interview, Columbus said: “We knew that the film worked because we did a couple of previews.
“Particularly a Chicago preview where our first cut was a three-hour cut. 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.”
After the interviewer noted that he’d like to see the original cut brought to screens by Warner Bros, Columbus responded: “I would too.”
Among the deleted material contained in the original cut were multiple scenes featuring the character of Peeves, played by the late Rik Mayall.
Mayall’s character is familiar to readers of the original Harry Potter books, but was excised from the film version completely.
In the novels, Peeves is a mischievous poltergeist who haunts Hogwarts school.
“We have to put Peeves back in the movie, who was cut from the movie!” said Columbus.
Columbus recently spoke to The Independent about the making of The Philosopher’s Stone, as part of an extensive oral history to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary.
The cast and creators of The Philosopher’s Stone also reunited for an elaborate reunion special, entitled Return to Hogwarts, available to stream now on Sky and NOW in the UK.