Rowling announces new ‘Potter’ spin-off film

By Joe Flint
Los Angeles Times via McClatchy-Tribune

LOS ANGELES — Warner Bros. and “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling are going to try to catch lightning in a bottle again.

The Hollywood movie studio and best-selling writer have unveiled a new agreement to make movies based on Rowling’s work. While Harry Potter may be over, the witches and wizards that can be found in Potter’s Hogwarts textbook
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” along with the adventures of fictitious author Newt Scamander will live on.

“’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 in a statement. “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.”

Rowling will write the screenplay for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which Warner Bros. said would be the first movie of a new franchise.

“We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us,” said Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara

Rowling, who has never written a screenplay before, said she wanted to because “the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult.”

Besides the “Fantastic Beasts” movies, Warner Bros. will also develop a video game and other consumer products based on the Hogwarts textbook. As part of the agreement, Warner Bros. will also distribute “The Casual Vacancy,” a TV adaptation of Rowling’s adult novel.

The “Harry Potter” movie franchise was a huge success for Warner Bros.