In the realm of profitable mainstream cinema, the blockbuster franchise currently reigns supreme. Franchises can take many forms, but when the source material ends, as Warner Bros.' wildly lucrative film series based on author J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books did with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, it can leave a noticeable vacuum.
Warners still has its DC Comics properties going for it, not to mention Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy, which will conclude with The Hobbit: There and Back Again, and WB's attempt to revive the granddaddy of giant death lizard movies with Godzilla.
Still, with the Man of Steel sequel Batman vs. Superman delayed until 2016, The Hobbit ending this year and the other big franchises really just getting off the ground, who can blame the studio for wanting to revisit the universe of Harry Potter, a franchise that has grossed over $8 billion?
We've known for some time about Warner Bros.' plan to adapt J.K. Rowling's 2001 book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but now WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara confirmed in a profile by The New York Times (via Variety) that Fantastic Beasts will become "three megamovies."
As for the overall story:
The main character will be a “magizoologist” named Newt Scamander. The stories, neither prequels or sequels, will start in New York about seven decades before the arrival of Mr. Potter and his pals.
Diehard Potter fans will know that Fantastic Beasts is a 54-page reproduction of a fictional Magizoology textbook from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry written by Newton Artemis Fido "Newt" Scamander. The book is required reading for first-year students, despite the fact that Care of Magical Creatures is not taught until their third year. The textbook is apparently a useful encyclopedia for the Dark creatures studied in the Defence Against the Dark Arts courses.
According to Rowling, Fantastic Beasts would not exist without Tsujihara's influence. The author stated:
“When I say he made ‘Fantastic Beasts’ happen, it isn’t P.R.-speak but the literal truth. We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I’d thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!”
Rowling's Harry Potter universe quickly became a cultural phenomenon, with the books and movies spawning their own sub-genre of would-be big-screen franchise imitators (the Percy Jackson series, Eragon, The Golden Compass, etc.), with The Hunger Games as the current king (queen?) of YA-based franchises.
Of course, there was never really any doubt that we would return to the world of Harry Potter on the big screen at some point. The real question is just how much Potter-universe back-story Tsujihara, Rowling and company will bring to the table - could we expect the Fantastic Beast trilogy to serve as a proper prequel to the Harry Potter films, rather than just a story set in the same world? We can imagine more than a few fans turning out for something like that. Stay tuned for details on this new trilogy as details emerge.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is in development at Warner Bros.
Source: NY Times