Warner Brothers Acquires A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

     July 21, 2011


With the final Harry Potter movie continuing to slaughter records at the box office and the shirtless circus known as the Twilight series set to wrap up within the next twelve months, the search is on for the next big fantasy film franchise. Having franchise on your production slate that guarantees an annual billion dollar box office/DVD gross looks pretty damn good to studio execs, so they’re constantly on the look out for the next film series that will make magic-loving tweens squeal with delight. That’s why Warner Brothers acquired the screen rights to Deborah Harkness’ debut novel A Discovery Of Witches today. The book is the first part of a trilogy that features witches, vampires, and swooning. In other words, there are a few Warner Brothers execs in an office somewhere salivating over projected box office grosses right now. Hit the jump for more info on the potential franchise.

a-discover-of-witches-book-coverAccording to Deadline first-time novelist and academic Deborah Harkness may have hit the jackpot with A Discovery Of Witches, which was purchased by Warner Brothers today for an unknown sum. The plot seems custom made to appeal to a Harry Potter and Twilight-starved audience. It revolves around a witch (a descendant from Salem during the good ole days of witch trials) who discovers both a 1,500 year old hunk of a vampire love interest and a manuscript that could kick off a war between the supernatural creatures of the world. Without having read the book it certainly sounds like Twilight + Harry Potter and I think we can assume that will = $$.

Producers Denise Di Novi (Edward Scissorhands) and Allison Greenspan (The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants) are already attached, so it seems as though Warner Brothers is taking this project pretty seriously. Admittedly, so many films go into development without ever being made that you can never assume anything, but given the fantasy franchise potential of this book and trilogy, we can pretty well assume that it’s going to happen. You can’t really manufacture a phenomenon though, so unless the A Discovery Of Witches suddenly gains the mass appeal that the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises had long before the films were made, there’s absolutely no guarantee that this won’t be the next Golden Compass or I Am Number Four. Only time will tell…

Here’s the official synopsis for Harkness’ novel:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. [Amazon]

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