Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling Reteam for New Film Series Inspired by HARRY POTTER Books; Rowling to Pen the Screenplay

by     Posted 1 year, 48 days ago

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Since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, everyone has been talking about Warner Bros.’ attempt to find “the next Harry Potter.”  Though there have been a few attempts to fill the void created by the conclusion of the box office juggernaut series, the studio has yet to have another franchise take off like Harry Potter did.  So, what are they to do?  Well begin a “Harry Potter-inspired” franchise with author J.K. Rowling onboard, of course.  The studio announced today that it is reteaming with Rowling on “a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards” that is inspired by Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which begins in New York 70 years prior to the events of Harry Potter.  Hit the jump for more on this very exciting news.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-bookPer the press release, Rowling is poised to make her screenwriting debut on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will be an original story and is planned as the first film in a new series.  The pic will focus on the mysterious author of the textbook, Newt Scamander, and Rowling had this to say about the new film and its connection to Harry Potter:

“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.”

The Harry Potter film series is the most successful film franchise of all time, so Warner Bros. has to be very, very happy with this news.  Rowling came up with the central idea for the film series herself after WB approached her about turning Fantastic Beasts into a movie.  I’m intrigued by the idea of the author penning the screenplays, and I’m incredibly interested to see how this project moves forward in development.  Will they round up the old gang and get Harry Potter producer David Heyman onboard?  Will they tap a wildly different director to ensure that Fantastic Beasts is a wholly separate entity from the Potter franchise?  It’s still incredibly early in the process, but boy is this exciting for fans of the Potter-verse.  Read the full press release below.

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 be an original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut. 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. “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.”

“We are incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses,” said Tsujihara. “She is an extraordinary writer, who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon. We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us.”

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.

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 U.K.) of J.K. Rowling’s upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of “The Casual Vacancy,” her best-selling first novel aimed at adult audiences. This miniseries begins production in 2014.

The relationship will be managed in London by Neil Blair of The Blair Partnership, Rowling’s literary agency, and Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, who will serve as Warner Bros.’ chief business contact for all J.K. Rowling initiatives going forward.

Rowling’s expanded quote regarding “Fantastic Beasts” is below:

“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.

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. 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.

I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

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  • Gray

    Great news for Harry Potter fans – will be interesting to see a New York based Potter-world story, set 70 years prior! Bit gutted they aren’t keeping it in Britain but who knows, perhaps the cast will still be British- here’s hoping!

    • Andrew Desmier

      He was headmaster at Hogwarts so its more than likely that he was British and just travelling to New York to explore. He also retired in Dorset.

      I’m so excited for this. Anything Harry Potter will be great and to continue the stories with in the world is fantastic. Hopefully there will be a series of mini films of The Tales of Beadle the Bard.

  • Person

    Thought they’d wait a little longer before going back to the Harry Potter well. This should be interesting, too early to pass any kind of judgment but it certainly has my attention. Never read any of the HP spinoff books like Beetle the Bard, etc., so I dunno how good they are, but hopefully WB knows what they’re doing. Rowling’s involvement is encouraging.

    • RiddleThemThis

      Wait a little longer? But there is money to be had!

      • Snarky

        Normally I’d be all for crying foul on cash grabs but when it comes to this kind of project, why wait? It’s not like a remake/reboot/prequel/sequel. It’s a completely different story in the same world that expands the universe with presumably mostly new characters and stories instead of rehashing the same old characters and locales. It’s precisely like what I was hoping the new Star Wars movies would be.

  • dungeons and draccus’s

    OH MY GOD!

  • dungeons and draccus’s

    I’m tossed between more magical mischief and wondering if we should stop with the second best of the bunch (Cuaron’s Azkaban was the best). Dead horse, or welcome return?

  • Dean Guest

    So once again they neglect all of the new DC comics properties they could develop films from, and go back to the Potter well. Was 8 films not enough?

    • Potty

      no.

    • peter

      So it’s cool for Star Wars to have another 3 movies but harry potter isnt?

      • Dean Guest

        I don’t recall mentioning anything about Star Wars, but seeing as you’ve brought it up when they announced the new films last year all I thought of is ‘apparently 35 years of milking the brand isn’t enough?’.

      • GrimReaper07

        Yeah, cause comic books aren’t being milked enough.

      • Dean Guest

        It’s not the form, it’s the specific property. New characters and chances to create new IP’s I am all for. If there was a new young adult novel which grabbed everyone’s attention and was adapted then i’m all for that.
        Regarding comic books, I loved the batman films but announcing the new Batman, just a year after the last batman ended did reek of ‘come on, let it rest for a while’. But if a Flash film was announced, or Wonder Woman, or Doctor Strange then I would be for that too.

      • Dean Guest

        It’s not the form, it’s the specific property. New characters and chances to create new IP’s I am all for. If there was a new young adult novel which grabbed everyone’s attention and was adapted then i’m all for that.
        Regarding comic books, I loved the batman films but announcing the new Batman, just a year after the last batman ended did reek of ‘come on, let it rest for a while’. But if a Flash film was announced, or Wonder Woman, or Doctor Strange then I would be for that too.

      • GrimReaper07

        I get that they’re very entertaining and I still like the genre, but I’m also so getting tired of them. They may be different IP’s, but they all work pretty much the same way, to the point where they copy each other’s beats. The Harry Potter universe is full of possibilities and relatively untapped when put against superhero movies. The only superhero movies I’m looking forward to are Ant-Man and the Avengers sequels.

    • Liam

      “Weren’t 8 movies enough?!” complain fanboys who were worried over who’s playing Batman in his 9th(!) theatrical movie.

      • Dean Guest

        …okay so that’s Star Wars and Batman that has been mentioned, when I didn’t comment about either of them in my last comment. Come on guys, don’t turn this in to AICN comment sections. Have conversations without the rantings and ravings.

    • The507thDoctor

      I don’t really understand how this can mean neglecting DC. Surely by creating a franchise that they’re pretty confident will be a success will lead to more DC adaptions, such as the long rumoured Aquaman and Wonder Woman movies.

      • Dean Guest

        well its the fact that theyve had the rights to these characters for years and all throughout marvel showing them how to do it, and giving a successful blueprint of getting a shared comic universe off the ground, they’re still not doing anything except with batman and superman on film. Relegating flash, wonder woman, green arrow to CW tv shows.

      • The507thDoctor

        Yeah I agree it is quite frustrating that the characters have been reduced to failed and not very good CW shows, but I have faith that within this decade we’ll see DC be a bit braver with their movie choices.

    • blkyank

      I suppose you could say the same thing for Disney’s plans to release Star Wars films every other year.

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  • Lewis

    WB is milking the cow, milking the cow all day looooooong… WB is milking the cow, milking the cow all day looooooong…

  • Daniel Ronczkowski

    This won’t work. For one the stories were already HUGE before the movies even started coming out, so she already have that established fan base.

  • Matt

    I think this is a great idea. Rowling is a very imaginative person and her whole Wizarding universe was full of fun and funny details and anecdotes that were largely ironed out of the films to make way for plot drive features. I don’t doubt they’ll still want a plot driven feature, but I can see these films being a bit more what was fun about reading HP versus a rehash of a high stakes environment.

    My only worry is that Rowling is said to be a bit of a control freak (which didn’t stop all the films but the 3rd one from being lesser siblings to the books) and may not have a natural flair for a screenplay.

    While that can often be ironed out by a good director, I do hope the production team takes this into mind.

  • Greyson

    Young Dumbledore PLEASE!

  • bidi

    i remember buying Fantastic Beasts when it first came out with Quidditch Through the Ages. The book is like 70 pages long so there is absolutely no story to it. but i’m excited about the prospect of going back to the HP world for a fun, new adventure. hopefully the new movies will be for magical and whimsical like the first ones in the series. nothing wrong with going dark, i’m just nostalgic for the whimsy of the earlier films

    oh yeah, and is it too early to suggest Benedict Cumberbatch for Newt Scamander? dude’s everywhere these days. why not Harry Potter?

  • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

    Harry Potter was good, clean fun and much-beloved – more of this can only be a good thing.

  • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

    I wonder if there are other alternate-universe schools that teach magic other than the ones found in England. What would a secret American magic school be like? Would there even be schools? Exploring that world of magic without all that polite English propriety could lead to some grand adventure.

    • Strong Enough

      lmao

    • Snarky

      +1 for the laughs! Thanks!

    • Zack

      Actually, there are. According to the books, the Salem Witches’ Institute is in Massachusetts, USA. So yes, we Americans have a wizarding school here, too.

  • Kota Lancaster

    Hobbit syndrome.

  • Strong Enough

    Flop. if it doesn’t have harry potter in the title consider it a dump

    • Roger ebert

      Shut up

      • Strong Enough

        but…you’re DEAD!???! HOW?!

      • eternalozzie

        Little known fact: Ebert worked for Wolfram and Hart … his contract extends beyond his death.

      • Strong Enough

        better call ghostbusters

  • http://whiterosebrian.tumblr.com/ White Rose Brian

    I’m sure my mother will want to see this.

  • IMPYEMU

    Harry Potter Prequel Series, Saul Goodman spinoff Prequel series, Alien Prequel series.

    Some people don’t know when to say goodbye.

    • RiddleThemThis

      You make it sound like prequels can only be bad, there’s nothing wrong with expanding the universe for those interested. Personally, I’m not interested in any of these prequels but if it was for a film that I truly cared about, then, sure.

      • IMPYEMU

        I loved Harry Potter and love Breaking Bad and I think the prequel ideas are dumb. All prequels aren’t bad but I think most are.

      • RiddleThemThis

        This harry potter thing can go either way, Breaking Bad just sounds extremely unnecessary. I didn’t even know Saul was that popular of a character.

      • IMPYEMU

        Well this Harry Potter thing is lacking one thing, Harry Potter, and Ron, and Hermione, and Hagrid and Malfoy and all the characters everyone who loved can relate to. Just having like Dumbledore and a few other younger versions of Old characters isn’t enough to warrant it.

        I’m aware it’s “set in the same universe” but really, just by mentioning Harry Potter they are trying to reel in that audience, which I see as cheap.

  • Zachrifice

    …and the first film will be released Summer 2015.

  • Futur3Fo3

    Haven’t read this. Sure wish they’d do a prequel about Tom Riddle @Hogwarts or a mini-series about the Potter kids @Hogwarts.

  • Jack

    I think they should do a prequel that takes place during the first wizard war that is similar to The Departed, but with Snape and Peter Pettigrew as DiCaprio’s character and Matt Damon’s character respectively. So half the book would be about Snape and Dumbledore trying to find out which Order of the Pheonix member is secretley Voldemorts spy, and the other half of the book would star Pettigrew and Voldemort trying to figure out which one of their death eaters is working for Dumbledore. And of course you would have James, Sirius, Lilly and Lupin as supporting characters and the war would be going on as the backdrop of the book/film

    • Blues

      Thats a really cool idea! I want to see the Dumbledore prequel detailing the rise and fall of his relationship with Grindelwald

    • Blues

      And that would end with Sirius being framed by Peter and going to Azkaban?

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  • Bob

    My God…I have watched all Harry Films more times than I can count, at least more than 10-15 times each one. I have read the books each more than 15-20 times each.

    This is actually some of the best news I have heard in film in my entire life.

    Thank you.

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  • Jordan O’Hagan

    This is the beginning of a wonderful new journey. Keep it coming, Ms. Rowling! Don’t you dare stop!

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  • Chodeberg

    It stinks!

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