Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with world-renowned, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. At the center of the partnership is a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander.
The announcement was made by Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will mark the screenwriting debut for the acclaimed novelist. It is planned as the first picture in a new film series. Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.
“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” said Rowling, in a press release distributed by Warner Bros. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”
Rowling says that Warner Bros. initially approached her regarding the idea of turning “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” into a film. She goes on to say:
“I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood. As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge.”
Probably needless to say, “Fantastic Beasts” will also be developed across the Studio’s video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with Pottermore.com, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories.
The studio’s expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of
its Harry Potter activities, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks
in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts, digital initiatives (including Pottermore), video games and other consumer products and visitor attractions.
Warner Bros. will also serve as the worldwide TV distributor (excluding the U.K.) of the upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of J. K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy,” her first novel aimed at adult audiences. The miniseries begins production in 2014.
Harry Potter films have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.