BURBANK (CNS) – Author J.K. Rowling is returning to the world of witches and wizards with a new film series inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander, Warner Bros. announced today.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be an original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut, according to the studio.
Planned as the first picture in a new film series, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to Harry Potter fans.
“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 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,” Rowling said.
“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, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway,” she said.
In addition to the film series, “Fantastic Beasts” will be developed across the studio’s video game, consumer products and digital initiatives units, according to Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The studio’s expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of its Harry Potter entities, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts, video games and consumer products.
Warner Bros. announced it will serve as the worldwide TV distributor — excluding the U.K. — of Rowling’s television adaptation for the BBC of “The Casual Vacancy,” her first novel aimed at adult audiences. The miniseries begins production next year.
The seven Harry Potter books published between 1997 and 2007 have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and been turned into eight Warner Bros. films that have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office.
Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Quidditch Through the Ages” — two small volumes which appear as the titles of Harry’s schoolbooks within the novels — were published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief.
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