The Wizarding World of Harry Potter carries on as a franchise even without The Boy Who Lived or any sign of the actor who played him for a decade, Daniel Radcliffe. He went on unexpected and experimental journeys as an all-purpose corpse in Swiss Army Man and Weird Al Yankovic more recently. He’s matured as a performer – to some degree – and moved on.
Warner Bros., on the other hand, can’t get over the coin the Harry Potter movies made them – or used to. After 11 years, it’s still one of their most identifiable film series and a formerly big moneymaker. A dropoff happened with The Fantastic Beasts movies at theaters due arguably to the bad PR of Johnny Depp’s firing and the real-life transgressions of Ezra Miller.
Things could change in the realm of spinoffs. A streaming series was reportedly in development for HBO Max last year albeit progress of it has since gone silent. That’s not to say plans have been canceled, however, at least not fully. If the Head of Original Content for the streaming platform can be believed, there is always an appetite for more from Hogwarts.
“There’s nothing like a ‘Harry Potter’ fan, in terms of their endless appetite for storytelling and new ways of interacting with these characters,” exec Sarah Aubrey said speaking with Variety. “So whether it’s the reunion or live events or games, we’re very much in the business of creating new content for those fans and thinking what to do next.”
But the bad news is they don’t have any content ready to bubble up yet. “We don’t have a series in active development right now. But we are very much in that business, because fans are just clamoring for more storytelling,” Aubrey added. Looking at her words, specifically “active development” and the allusion to being in business, reports are reading between the lines.
Just because they haven’t greenlit something doesn’t mean there aren’t discussions or a series of some kind on the drawing board. It makes business sense to the very top given that parent company CEO David Zaslav is on a wavelength that emphasizes the drawing power and cash flow of tentpole franchises. He stated as much during a highly publicized earnings call.
Other than Superman, Harry Potter was one IP he name-dropped as a big draw that has gone over a decade without a sequel. “We’re going to have a real focus on franchises. We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter movie in 15 years,” Zaslav stated on the call via The Direct.
“The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of profits for Warner Bros. Motion Pictures over the last 25 years. One of the big advantages that we have, House of the Dragon, is an example of that with Game of Thrones,” he continued, also adding Sex and the City and Lord of the Rings to his list.
Another name Zaslav mentioned was HP author JK Rowling as someone he’d like to work with on a Wizarding initiative. “And we have a lot of them: Batman, Superman, Aquaman, if we can do something with JK [Rowling] on Harry Potter going forward,” he said. Rowling’s canceled status resulting from her outspoken comments about transgender people will definitely be an obstacle to achieving this.
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