First rule of business: go where the money is! It seems there is still more milk to squeeze out the Harry Potter cash-cow. J.K. Rowling has reported she will screenwrite not one, not two, but three Harry Potter spin-off movies for Warner Bros. The trilogy will be based on her book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It was briefly mentioned in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone book which is what first-year attendees of Hogwarts must read.
Fans of Harry Potter will be both thrilled and a little disappointed by this announcement. The trilogy will expand the Potter universe, but because the trilogy will take place seven decades before Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter or any of the other iconic characters will not be involved (maybe Dumbledore, because he is old enough). Fantastic Beasts will take place in New York City following the adventures of “magizoologist” Newt Scamander, the “author” of the book, as he discovers and chronicles magic animals and how to tame them.
Do not expect to wait long for Rowling to finish the screenplay for the expansion. Rowling is not one to waste time or struggle to find inspiration for her books. She is not like George R.R. Martin, the writer of A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a Game of Thrones), who can take up to six years to write sequels; whereas her biggest gap between books was three years. It seems Rowling is not ready to give up on her beloved series that made her a celebrated author, philanthropist and entrepreneur. While her latest non-Potter related book, The Casual Vacancy, did receive claim and sales it by no means reached the level of success her wizard boy did.
Warner Bros. did not even flinch when she suggested making more Harry Potter movies. The film franchise was a license to print money. The films alone created box-office revenue of $7.7 billion. There was also the merchandising: toys, video games, posters, costumes, reprinting books with the film’s poster, memorabilia, and etcetera. A gigantic theme park based on the films and books called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was made in the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida in 2010.
The franchise was so influential that every major Hollywood studio has had their attempts at mimicking its success. Movies based on young adult books such as Chronicles of Narnia, Eragon, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Golden Compass, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, City of Ember, Ender’s Game, The Host and Vampire Academy have all tried and failed to seize that magic that made Harry Potter so special.
Originally J.K. Rowling was in plans of writing for one Harry Potter spin-off, only recently has it been announced she will write for three. This is very reminiscent of when Peter Jackson announced he would make one Hobbit movie, which then turned into two, now three. This is ironic because it was the last Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows, which was split into two movies. Because the split made Warner twice as much money, every major book-turned-movie franchise has to have the last book split into two or more, akin to Twilight: Breaking Dawn and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.
Opinion by Ignacio Gatti