Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills, Tsujihara called the new project “incredibly important.”
The Warner Bros.-Rowling partnership on “Fantastic Beasts” had been jointly announced a few hours earlier with Rowling adapting the movie script from her 2001 book, ostensibly written by the fictional Newt Scamander. The films will be set initially in New York, 70 years prior to the start of the Harry Potter story.
Tsujihara took the opportunity at the conference to amplify a few of the announcement’s details. He said “Fantastic Beasts” will resemble the eight Harry Potter movies in response to a question of whether the films would re-use the same sets, currently housed at Warner’s Leavesden Studios in London.
“The look and feel will be very similar,” Tsujihara added.
The exec indicated “Fantastic Beasts” would become a part of studio’s massive merchandising efforts and part of the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” theme parks. And he indicated the project reflects the studio’s commitment to projects with high-profile talent.
“The life-blood of the studio is the content,” Tsujihara said. “We’ve had a long, long relationship with Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson, Chris Nolan, Todd Phillips, Zack Snyder, and you want to make sure you can create a culture where they want to work.”
Rowling wrote the 54-page “Fantastic Beasts” in 2001 in the voice of Scamander during the period between publication of the fourth and fifth books of the series.
“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.
Full name of the fictional author is Newton Artemis Fido Scamander, who was commissioned in 1918 to write a reference guide to magical beasts, published in 1927. The book says Scamander was born in 1897, graduated from Hogwarts and went to work at the Ministry of Magic.