WB and Universal to host their version of "Star Wars Celebration" to keep fan interest in franchise active
The three-day event will will fete all of Harry Potter’s adventures, from the books to the films and Q&As with talent and filmmakers, as well as presentations including the art of dueling at a wand masterclass featured at Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London on the making of “Harry Potter,” hosted by Paul Harris, the choreographer who trained the cast of the films.
Universal is also selling special vacation packages starting Aug. 22 that include exclusive access to a private evening reception held in “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” theme park.
Most activities planned for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be open to all Universal Orlando park guests and annual passholders, but only guests who purchase the special event package will enjoy exclusive benefits and reserved seating for select events, including early access into the parks, dining options and express lines for rides, the companies said.
Packages, which include hotel stays at Universal properties, start at $395 or $675 per person, depending on the type chosen at the company’s website.
Warner Bros. is clearly looking for ways to keep its Harry Potter franchise humming along without new films to release in theaters.
To date, the films have grossed more than $7.7 billion worldwide, while the books have sold over 450 million copies.
Meanwhile, Universal sees the celebration as a way to attract more guests to its popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter park, especially during the winter months when attendance levels are lower. Universal is also building versions of the themed area in Hollywood and Japan. It’s also expanding its existing park in Orlando.
Lucasfilm hosted its first “Star Wars Celebration” in 1999 in Denver, around the release of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” Its eighth event was held in Orlando, at Walt Disney World, in 2012, and in Essen, Germany in July. Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, the Mouse House already has skedded the event to take place in Anaheim, Calif. in 2015, around the release of the seventh “Star Wars” film.