CEO David Zaslavi said the studio is open to continuing the franchise ‘if we can do something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward.’
Warner Bros. Discovery may revisit the tale of the boy who lived, should controversy-courting Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling come up with new material.
CEO David Zaslav remarked on the company’s interest in continuing the franchise during a Q3 earnings call Thursday, after being asked about how content would be different under Warner Bros. Discovery post merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia.
“We’re going to have a real focus on franchises,” he explained. “We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter movie in 15 years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of the profits of Warner Bros. Motion Pictures over the last 25 years. So a focus on the franchise — one of the big advantages that we have, House of the Dragon is an example of that, Game of Thrones, taking advantage of Sex and the City, Lord of the Rings — we still have the right to do Lord of the Rings movies. What are the movies that have brands that are understood and loved everywhere in the world?”
Zaslav continued: “Outside the U.S., most in the aggregate, Europe, Latin America, Asia, have 40% of the theaters that we have here in the U.S. and there is local content. And so when you have a franchise movie, you can often make two to three times the amount of money that you make in the U.S., because you get a slot. And a focus on the big movies that are loved, that are tentpoled, that people are going to leave early from dinner to go to see — and we have a lot of them. Batman, Superman, Aquaman, if we can do something with J.K. [Rowling] on Harry Potter going forward, Lord of the Rings, what are we doing with Game of Thrones? What are we doing with a lot of the big franchises that we have? We’re focused on franchises.”
The last Harry Potter movie put out by Warner Bros. was 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which concluded the 8-film franchise based on Rowling’s beloved books. The studio also has the spinoff film series Fantastic Beasts, the latest of which, The Secrets of Dumbledore, came out this July. There have been no announced plans for further entries in either franchise, however.
Zaslav’s comments come amid continued controversy surrounding Rowling who has been widely condemned for consistently sharing rhetoric on social media and in published work that critics have called out for being transphobic. Prominent LGBTQ organizations like GLAAD and The Trevor Project have condemned Rowling’s statements, with several Potter stars, including leads Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, publicly denouncing her comments.