Saturday, 10 Jun 2023

‘Harry Potter’ to Become a TV Series

Harry Potter fans, some of whom have been casting spells for years in hopes of a television series about the boy wizard, can finally put their wands down and rejoice.

Max, the new streaming service from Warner Bros. Discovery announced on Wednesday that it had ordered a “Harry Potter” television series based on the novels by the British author J.K. Rowling.

“We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” Casey Bloys, the chairman and chief executive of HBO and Max content, said in a statement.

“Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World,” he said. A news release announcing the series said it would be a “faithful adaptation” of the best-selling book series, which spans seven books published between 1997 and 2007. Eight hit films based on the books were released between 2001 and 2011.

The upcoming show, which is described as a decade-long series, “will feature a new cast to lead a new generation of fandom, full of the fantastic detail, much-loved characters and dramatic locations that Harry Potter fans have loved for over 25 years,” according to the release. It will be available on Max in the United States and around the world. No time frame for the show’s release was given.

Ms. Rowling, who has drawn waves of criticism in recent years over her remarks on gender identity issues, will be an executive producer for the series.

“Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long form television series,” she said in a statement.

Potterheads, a term used to describe super fans of “Harry Potter,” have been grappling with the author’s comments on transgender issues for years. In 2020, she published an essay in which she said a movement of transgender activists was “seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators.”

While Ms. Rowling has denied being anti-transgender, her remarks have pitted fans against each other, with some vowing to stop supporting the Potter franchise.

Despite the continued debate over Ms. Rowling, products related to Harry Potter continue to sell. Earlier this year, The Hogwarts Legacy video game sold more than 12 million copies in two weeks.

The television show is the latest moneymaking arm of the Potter universe, which also include feature films, a stage play, live entertainment at theme parks, studio tours and retail stores.

Max, the latest entry into the crowded streaming market, will debut next month, and will cost roughly $16 a month for a commercial-free version and less for an advertising-supported tier.

Last April, WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. merged, adding a new media giant to the entertainment industry. David Zaslav, the president and chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, sold shareholders on the deal in part by arguing that the combined company could have a successful app.

But over the last year, the company has seen some obstacles, including shelving at least two projects and laying off part of its work force.

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