J.K. Rowling is conjuring up more tales of witches and wizards, and will be making her debut as a screenwriter.
Warner Bros. Entertainment has announced an “expanded creative partnership” with the Harry Potter author, and at the center of the relationship will be a new film series that is inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
According to an announcement by Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Rowling will be penning the first picture in a new film series and the story, which covers the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander, will feature creatures and characters familiar to Potter fans.
“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. “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.”
Warners plans on leveraging this new series into a video game, consumer products, and digital initiatives. It will also expand the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts.
Rowling will also be extending her partnership with Warner Bros in other ways. The studio will serve as the worldwide TV distributor of Rowling’s upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of The Casual Vacancy, her best-selling first adult novel. This miniseries begins production in 2014.
“We are incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry, which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses,” said Tsujihara. “She is an extraordinary writer who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon. We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us.”
Warner Bros. released eight Harry Potter films based on the best-selling books from 2001 to 2011. The movies were all massive hits at the box office, with the last one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, a film that pulled in more than $1 billion worldwide, currently ranked as the fourth highest-grossing film of all time. The other films are all among the top 50 highest-grossing titles ever. They each earned more than $750 million worldwide in ticket sales, with the worst-performing movie, 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, racking up $796.69 million worldwide.
The second part of the Deathly Hallows holds the record for the biggest opening day gross, worldwide opening weekend, July weekend gross, Friday, and single-day gross. Meanwhile, the first Harry Potter film still holds the record for the highest-grossing Thanksgiving three-day and five-day weekends.