Harry Potter is Warner Bros. Entertainment’s $6 billion boy wizard.
The July 15 box-office release of “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” marks the final installment of the most successful film franchise in Hollywood history, according to box-office sales. But regardless of how the story ends, it’s not likely Harry & Co. will ride off on their broomsticks and disappear forever.
For major studios, film franchises have become a critical component of the release slate and revenue stream. These films take on a post-theatrical life that keep characters in front of audiences through DVD releases, television series, video games, live musicals, consumer products, even theme park rides.
Warner Bros. has a major opportunity to repurpose the characters and keep the franchise alive, said Paul Dergarabedian, an entertainment industry analyst with Hollywood.com.
“The amount of extra footage and behind the scenes is enough to keep that alive in the home video world for another five to 10 years,” Dergarabedian said.
Die-hard fans may consider packing their bags Universal Studios in Orlando, where they can ride the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The theme park attraction celebrated its one year anniversary in June.
In England, Warner Bros. has conjured up elaborate plans following its purchase of Leavesden Studios, the back-lot where the eight Potter films were made. Starting next year, the studio will offer tours to view the sets, costumes, animatronics, props and effects.
Attempts to reach Warner Bros. executives at the studio’s Burbank headquarters, regarding other Potter-related plans were not successful.
“There are whole layers of cycles that I am sure Warner Bros. has thought of,” to keep the brand alive, said Joy Tashjian, a marketing professional who does licensing deals for television networks and films studios.
The Walt Disney Co., for instance, has found great success with live musicals of its animated and live action films, resulting in a Tony Award for Best Musical for “The Lion King” in 1998. Characters such as Spiderman, the Marvel Comics superhero, and boxer Rocky Balboa are the subjects of upcoming Broadway productions. This summer, another Warner Bros.-owned property, Batman, will kick off its tour of a live, non-musical production with an original story line.
Filmmaker George Lucas has milked the “Star Wars” universe since the original trilogy debuted in theaters nearly 30 years ago. Special editions, prequels, an animated television series, video games, and best-selling books all have continued the story lines of major and minor characters alike.