Variety is reporting today that Warner Bros. Entertainment has put together a team to oversee the massive Harry Potter franchise. The group, known as the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team, will “develop and execute a high level strategic vision for the Harry Potter brand.” The group will be based in both Burbank, California, and London. It will reportedly maintain control over the Fantastic Beasts films, the Studio Tour in London, all three theme parks (in Orlando, Osaka, and Universal City), Pottermore (which recently split with its original partner, Sony), and the future West End play.
This seems like a huge move, and could be bordering on redefining just what Harry Potter is. It seems like Harry Potter is no longer just a story or book series; it has become a brand. Having the same team over everything could be helpful in keeping continuity between different areas, such as artwork on Pottermore and design in the theme parks.
But does this make our beloved book series too commercialized? On a recent trip to the Studio Tour, a friend of mine commented that she was loving the experience until she walked into the gift shop. She felt that the whole experience just became a money making plea. This leads to the question: Where is the line between actually giving fans something new in their Harry Potter experience and riding the success of the series for profit?
And what are “future incarnations” of Harry Potter? Of course, the story has gone from a book series to a film series to theme parks and an interactive website, but when does it all become too much? Are we drifting too far away from the essence of Harry Potter, that is, the novels?
Regardless, this is sure to be an interesting move and will bring changes to the Potter world in the future.
What do you think of WB’s decision? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks to Dan Caddy for the tip!