×

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Spin-Off Gives Warner Bros. Franchise Fever

'Fantastic Beasts' to have similar look, feel as Harry Potter films

Warner Bros. studio topper Kevin Tsujihara sounded a thoroughly bullish tone over prospects for J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

“The hope is that we’re going to build a film franchise,” Tsujihara said Thursday as part of his first public comments about the Harry Potter spin-off following the official announcement.

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.

SEE ALSO: How Much Harry Potter Will Be in J.K. Rowling’s New Movie?

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.

SEE ALSO: Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling Team Up for New ‘Harry Potter’-Themed Film Series

“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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos

    Korea: 'The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos’ Rules Chuseok Holiday Box Office

    Local films dominated cinemagoing in South Korea over the 4-day Chuseok holiday weekend, traditionally one of the year’s busiest periods. The winner was “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos.” Opening on Wednesday, the CJ Entertainment release earned $20.2 million from 1.97 million admissions over five days. A film adaptation of CJ E&M’s 2014 hit TV [...]

  • Disco

    New Europe Sells Toronto and San Sebastian Film 'Disco' to Several Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jan Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales has signed several distribution deals on “Disco,” which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery section and makes its European premiere in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. The film has been picked up by Palace for Australia and New Zealand, Artcam for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Kino [...]

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” out front, Chinese action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend, while the few American titles in play have failed to attract many moviegoers. Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from consultancy [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' Is Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at the Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the international feature film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed [...]

  • Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar'

    Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar' as Its Oscar Entry

    Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has chosen “Laal Kabootar” as its candidate for the Oscars’ international feature film category. Directed by first-time helmer Kamal Khan, the gangland thriller set in Karachi’s underbelly follows the events that transpire when a woman in search of her husband’s killer is thrown together with a cab driver and petty criminal [...]

  • Atlantis

    Toronto Film Review: 'Atlantis'

    “It took you 10 years to cleanse this region of Soviet propaganda and myths,” says one character to another in “Atlantis,” going on to suggest that the devastation now left behind may never be “cleansed” at all. A strikingly bleak vision of a near future in which Ukraine has won its war with Russia but [...]

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content