Channing Dungey has stated that Warner Bros. has plans for a Harry Potter television series and a deal with Amazon for animated DC content.
Harry Potter is a franchise that began as a series of 7 novels by J.K. Rowling. It centered on Harry Potter, an orphaned boy who was sent to live with his abusive aunt, uncle, and cousin. At age 11, he learned of his magical heritage and enrolled in the prestigious magic school, Hogwarts. As he got his magical education, his parents’ killer, Lord Voldemort, sought immortality, the conquest of the Wizarding World, and the extermination of all who are not of pureblood heritage. It was foretold that Harry would be the key to defeating Voldemort and saving everyone.
Lasting Value of Harry Potter
In 2021, Warner Bros. created a Return to Hogwarts special for HBO, celebrating the franchise’s 20th anniversary. That same year also had a four-part world competition event, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses, which tested fans’ knowledge of the books and films, hosted by Helen Mirren. Because of how successful both events were, Warner Bros. is looking to expand the television presence of Harry Potter.
Fantastic Beasts has been seeing diminishing returns, making the prospect of another film installment for the spin-off series and the franchise in general look bleak. The first film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was the most successful, grossing $814 million against a $175 million budget. The next two installments, The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Secrets of Dumbledore, were not as fortunate; the former grossed $654.9 million against a $200 million budget, and the latter grossed $405.2 million against a $200 million budget.
The poor PR regarding certain key figures attached to the series, such as J.K. Rowling (opinions regarding gender identity that not everyone agrees with), Kevin Guthrie (arrested for sexual assault), Johnny Depp (lost a November 2020 libel lawsuit amidst his feud with Amber Heard), and Ezra Miller (a string of legal troubles throughout 2022), likely played a part in Warner Bros.’ decision to quietly cancel plans for a fourth and fifth installment.
The Definition of Entertainment Success
Despite the film flops, however, Warner Bros. is still optimistic about the Harry Potter franchise’s presence on television. The success of Return to Hogwarts and Hogwarts Tournament of Houses highlights the potential for a new series to bring new energy to the franchise. Whether it is a continuation or another spin-off is yet to be confirmed.
Back in October, Warner Bros. Television had a major restructure in its workplace, complete with the 19% layoff of its workforce across (un)scripted and animation divisions as well as the merger between Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios’ development and production teams. Along with making Harry Potter content for HBO Max, Warner Bros. TV is additionally closing a deal with Amazon to create animated DC content. With new management, the company is no longer limited to keeping all its productions in-house, exploring new possibilities of bringing its animated IP to different platforms.
The entertainment industry has been reconsidering its priorities on what defines entertainment success: a work’s profitability is becoming more emphasized over subscriber numbers and relying on tried-and-true properties can only take one so far.
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