After the middling box office performance of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the future of the franchise is unclear. While Fantastic Beasts 4 isn’t a sure thing, Warner Bros. certainly doesn't seem to have given up on new Wizarding World of Harry Potter projects, and reportedly they are set meet with J.K Rowlding in the near future. HBO Max subscribers, you’re going to want to hear this.
The main mover and shaker that’s supposedly going all in on Rowling’s creations, per the Wall Street Journal, is newly-installed Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. If you've heard the name before, it may be because he's the man who recently cancelled DC’s Wonder Twins movie. Next up, he’s reportedly set to meet with the Harry Potter creator in order to discuss what could and should be done with the franchise in the future. Unsurprisingly, the main platform that seems to be in play for a new plan is the studio’s streaming service, HBO Max.
On the more optimistic side of things, David Zaslav could shore up longer storytelling in the Wizarding World for HBO Max. Independent of whatever plans may still be on the books for Fantastic Beasts’s presumed theatrical future, there’s always room for more unscripted programming like the tribute-filled reunion special Return to Hogwarts. Also, if the ambitions are high enough, Zaslav could inquire about whether or not an original series covering a previously unseen era of Potter history is feasible. There are loads of directions this could go in.
On the other hand, this feels like somewhat of a downgrade for both the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises. Maintained as theatrical experiences, a new focus on the streaming arena looks like a potential shift in strategy for Warner Bros. There isn’t an explicit implication this is the case at this point, but in light of recent theatrical events, some may see this as writing on the wall.
Then, there’s the final scenario that Harry Potter fans have been pondering in the back of their minds since starting this story: a full-on adaptation of The Cursed Child. It’s something that would make for a fantastic HBO Max series, complete with lore expansion from J.K. Rowling an any other hired writers. Though with most of the original Harry Potter cast not interested in participating, that could easily backfire if not carefully handled.
Despite whatever lulls the Fantastic Beasts saga has hit in theatrical markets, it’s not as easy of a cancellation call to make as something like the nascent Wonder Twins project. Whatever share of the market J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World still takes up is still substantial enough to warrant an in-person sit down with David Zaslav. It’s early days for this potential move forward, but HBO Max does lend itself to so many possibilities should the streamer get back into business with Rowling.
As it stands, the only Harry Potter content you can see on HBO Max is through the movies and specials that currently exist. Meanwhile, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is currently in theaters, with a streaming debut not too far off if the Warner Bros.’ streaming release window for The Batman is any indication. We'll keep ya posted.
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