On Sept. 12, Warner Bros. Entertainment and J.K. Rowling mutually announced they will work on the Harry Potter-inspired film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The movie is planned as the first of a new series inspired by the Hogwarts textbook described in Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and the project marks Rowling’s screenwriting debut.
Warner Bros. notes “Fantastic Beasts” will focus on Newt Scamander, the book’s fictitious author, and will feature magical creatures and characters, including some that will be familiar to fans of the Harry Potter books and movies.
Rowling, who made the announcement on her Facebook page, describes her movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” as related to but distinct from the Harry Potter books, part of the same fantasy world but set in its own time and place.
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. “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 also offered these insights into why she decided to enter into this expanded partnership with Warner Bros. and undertake the challenges of writing a screenplay.
It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' into a film. 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. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.
The expanded partnership between Warner Bros. and Rowling for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is as close to a safe bet as Hollywood can get. The Harry Potter films have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making it the largest-grossing film franchise in history. The franchise has been extended across the Studios’ various entertainment businesses, including home entertainment, video game, consumer products and attractions.
“Fantastic Beasts” will follow in the “Harry Potter” model. The expanded partnership covers video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses; working with Pottermore.com, Rowling’s online experience focused on the Harry Potter stories, and continued expansion of Harry Potter presence in Universal Parks and Resorts theme parks.