Warner Bros. Discovery Interested in More 'Harry Potter’ and 'Lord of the Rings’ Movies
During Warner Bros. Discovery’s Q3 earnings call, CEO David Zaslav reaffirmed the studio’s commitment to franchise filmmaking, citing IPs like Harry Potter, the DC Universe, and The Lord of the Rings.
Per Deadline, the chief executive said the following during the call:
“We’re going to have a real focus on franchises. We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years. We haven’t had a Harry Potter movie in 15 years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of profits to Warner Bros motion pictures over the last 25 years.
‘House of the Dragon’ is a big 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.”
Zaslav mentioned two of WBD’s most interesting titles. With The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which was released 11 years ago, the story of Harry Potter as told in the books was completed. There is room to adapt The Cursed Child, a sequel that was written as a play by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, set 19 years after the events of The Deathly Hallows, but it’s unknown if that’s what Zaslav is interested in. The question is now if Zaslav is already in negotiations to get Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint back.
In the age of cast reunions from popular franchises being responsible for billion-dollar grosses at the box office, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Jurassic World: Dominion, the original cast from the Harry Potter movies coming back would definitely break the Internet if announced. However, it’s a more complicated matter than it seems. Radcliffe, who scored big twice this year with The Lost City and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, is finally finding a place in Hollywood in a post-Harry Potter life. Moreover, he recently said the following when asked about potentially playing Wolverine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
“I just don’t ever want to get locked into something that I am not sure I will be able to love the same amount the whole time.”
It’s unknown if that self-imposed rule will be applicable to Harry Potter too, though it actually seems like very specific wording with room for that exception. Grint was slightly burned out by the experience after finishing the franchise even if he still loved playing the part, and Watson hasn’t acted on film or television in three years, since Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. Her manager did note in early 2021 that she’s not retired from acting though. For now, the HBO Max reunion special that was released in late 2021 will have to be enough for fans eager to see the main trio back together.
For six years, the Wizarding World has been living on the big screen through the mediocre-at-best Fantastic Beasts movies, which have also been splashed with controversy after controversy. However, this year’s The Secrets of Dumbledore may have been the last of the bunch, considering its poor box office performance and critical reception, and the fact that, according to Variety, there are currently no discussions between the studio and author J.K. Rowling about future feature films. Plans for a spin-off series on HBO Max were reportedly set in motion last year, though there’s been no development as far as we know. Given Zaslav’s commitment to IPs, it’s possible he will reignite that flame. It’s been rumored that Jude Law’s young Dumbledore incarnation could have a future on the platform.
As far as Lord of the Rings goes, we’re definitely learning new bits of information about the actual rights to the IP every other week. After media giant Embracer Group acquired Middle-earth Enterprises over the summer, it seemed like they would be the only ones with the key to making new content set in Tolkien’s fantasy world, aside from Amazon Prime Video’s costly TV adventure The Rings of Power. People familiar with the details of the deal even said recently that the franchise has the potential to be as big as Marvel or Star Wars, and it looks like Zaslav is on the same page. Moreover, apparently, New Line might still hold production rights — working in collaboration with Embracer — if the CEO’s statement is to be taken literally.
We will learn more details with time, but we’ve surely not seen the last of Middle-earth on the big screen, for better or worse. In fact, New Line has already scheduled The War of the Rohirrim for an April 12, 2024, release. It will be an animated film set 200 years before the events of the War of the Ring, and will see the return of Miranda Otto as Éowyn, acting as the film’s narrator. Brian Cox will provide the voice of Helm Hammerhand, the King of Rohan. Meanwhile, the second season of Amazon’s The Rings of Power is currently shooting in the U.K.
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as authors like Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.