MUMBAI: Back in September last year, Warner Bros announced in a press statement that it is back to making films in association with world-wide bestselling author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling. At the centre 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.
In the press release, Warner Bros stated that through Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; J.K. Rowling will make her screenwriting debut.
“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 the statement. “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.”
In addition to the film series, 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.
In an interview with The New York Times published on 29 March, Warner Bros Picture CEO Kevin Tsujihara stated that “three mega movies” based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are planned and the main character will be a “magizoologist” named Newt Scamander. The stories, neither prequels nor sequels, will start in New York about seven decades before the arrival of Potter and his pals.
The Studio’s expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of its Harry Potter activities, including The Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts (currently in Orlando, FL; opening in Hollywood, CA and Osaka, Japan), digital initiatives (including Pottermore), video games, consumer products and visitor attractions.
In addition, Warner Bros will serve as the worldwide TV distributor (excluding the UK) of J.K. Rowling’s upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of The Casual Vacancy, her best-selling first novel aimed at adult audiences which begins production in 2014.