The Series That Lived: Harry Potter Spin-Off to Be a Movie Trilogy
Harry Potter fans have not one but three reasons to rejoice, as Warner Bros. has revealed that the movie spin-off based on the companion novel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be a trilogy, and fans may have Warner’s new CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, to thank. The first news that the companion book, which Potter author J.K. Rowling wrote in 2001 as a way to raise money for charity, was to be made into a movie came out in the fall, and now a New York Times profile on Tsujihara has revealed that the book will actually spawn three films.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is one of the schoolbooks that Potter and friends are required to read for their classes at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s “written” by a “magizoologist” named Newt Scamander and chronicles the strange creatures that are found in Rowling’s magical universe. Rowling herself is writing the screenplays. The movies will not be a continuation of Harry Potter’s story but will take place in the same magical world 70 years prior, in New York City.
“When I say he made Fantastic Beasts happen, it isn’t P.R.-speak but the literal truth,” Rowling said of Tsujihara in response to emailed questions from the Times. “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!”
The movie will be Rowling’s debut as a screenwriter. “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. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway,” Rowling said in a statement in the fall, when the project was announced.
“I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it,” she went on to say.
Landing the films is a major victory for Warner Bros. and Tsujihara, who took over as CEO last year. The Times article reports that Tsujihara has engineered some tough deals after winning a succession battle to become CEO. Potter is just one of his several victories thus far, and the executive is betting big on the big screen when other studios are cutting back in that area.
No director, actors, or a release date have been announced for the film, although actors from the original Harry Potter movies, including Emma Watson, have expressed interest in participating.
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