With the “Harry Potter” series’ pop culture dominance throughout the past decade, it is not surprising that the series has developed such a dynamic and widespread fan base. As such, there were millions of people cheering when the news of a new “Harry Potter” movie hit the press.
Warner Brothers Entertainment announced Sept. 12 that J.K. Rowling would make her screen-writing debut in a Harry Potter movie spinoff. The movie will be separate from the previous eight movies, with the setting, the Wizarding World, as the only similarity. Rowling also announced that the plot will feature the adventures of Newt Scamander, who is the author of one of Harry Potter’s schoolbooks: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Warner Brothers is simply playing with fire without the fear of being burned.
Businessweek magazine remarked it is “no doubt [that] having Rowling plunge back into the world of wizardry is one of [Warner Brother’s] safest bets,” and it is exactly right. Warner Brothers reportedly took in over $7 billion in total grossing from the eight films of the “Harry Potter” series. The arrival of this new wizardry movie, seemingly from out of nowhere, is simply an attempt to keep that money-ball rolling.
This continuation of seemingly “closed” projects seems to be a common theme in the entertainment industry over the past few years. Some other, recent examples of this phenomenon include the announcements of Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” Disney’s “Star Wars: Episode VII,” 20th Century Fox’s “Independence Day 2,” and Universal Studio’s “Jurassic Park 4.”
Clearly these screenwriters are running out of fresh ideas.
All of these production companies seem to be taking directions from the same handbook. They are simply playing on the fan bases that already exist for these past hits. Take “Star Wars” for example. There is a good chance that the seventh installment, set to premier in 2015, will be terrible. However, every single fan will see the movie when it hits the big screen, and that is what Disney is banking on.
By continuing the “Harry Potter” series without repeating the same story line, Warner Brothers is set to score big at the box office, with no risk on their part. This movie will have the same amount of fans as the other eight films, so in reality, Warner Brothers has nothing to lose besides the general respect of Potterheads across the nation. Although in show business, respect isn’t truly worth that much anyway.
What can be done about theses cinema sins every production company insists on making? The moviegoer must take these films at face value and attempt to avoid comparing these movies to their originals.
This starts with examining the trailer with wide eyes and a clear mind. If it looks good then that’s great, but if not, don’t hold your breath. Simply refuse to expect a movie similar to the makeup of the ones in the past.
If audiences are able to attend these premiers with an open mind, then maybe, just maybe, these movies have a chance of doing well. However, if a Potterhead enters the 10 p.m. showing of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and expects to see more Harry Potter and Voldemort action, then they will leave the movie theater extremely disappointed.