According to WB/D exec Gunnar Wiedenfels, the DCU, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings expansions are only just starting. It wasn’t that long ago we found out WB/D had secured the movie rights to The Lord of the Rings franchise. Ergo, though we don’t yet know what, new movies are coming. Asked specifically when we’ be returning to Middle-earth at a recent investors call, Wiedenfels skirted round the question. However here is what he did say courtesy of Variety.
Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said during a panel at Morgan Stanley’s investor conference Wednesday,
“David made a promise, quote unquote, very early on to revitalize some of that iconic, tentpole IP and we’re starting to make progress,” the CFO said. “It’s exciting to see how people are coming in and out and how the creative community is embracing this opportunity to work with us. That’s going to bear fruit, over time.”
Very non-committal, though perhaps that’s to be expected for now.
Wiedenfels also went on to praise James Gunn and Peter Safran and tease what’s to come from the DCU.
“DC is an enormous opportunity and two important building blocks are in place now with the leadership team, Peter [Safran] and James [Gunn], and James has been breathing comics for as long as he’s been alive, essentially. A great creative leader here. And the second building block that is in place is the one-company approach, because I think you can only manage a franchise if everything is coordinated and the team is working together extremely well. There’s an enormous level of collaboration and joint decision making around what should work hand in hand across the franchise.”
“Take ‘Harry Potter’ as an example, the Wizarding World, the fact that we are enjoying this massive success with the ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ launch, 12 years after the last film came out, shows that there is so much opportunity and we’re only just starting to expand that,” Wiedenfels said. “We’ve got the new ‘Harry Potter’ tour coming up in Tokyo in the middle of the year. Long story short, I think this one-company approach, great leadership in the individual business units, but coordinated franchise management is probably one of the biggest opportunities the company has.”
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Perhaps, though we can also look at the success, or lack thereof when it comes to the Fantastic Beasts films. That’s a series likely never going to be ended it now looks. Sadly, it was finally getting to the interesting part of the story that fans wanted to know more about. The game has been so successful because its very unique compared to any Potter games that have come before. Players can live out there Hogwarts fantasies and that’s attractive to any fans of the books or movies.
However Fantastic Beasts was created and written by franchise creator J.K. Rowling and still didn’t hit the mark. Are we now going to be getting a ton of fan fiction movies or is Rowling going to be writing sequels? Or are WB/D going to reboot and just start again which would be such an outright cash grab? I just don’t see what the plan is. Oh, and if that plan involves making a movie of the disaster that is the now canonized The Cursed Child then don’t expect the box office to explode in gratitude. I’ve read it and it’s horrible.
Thoughts As A Fan
Of these big franchises, where do we stand. Well DCU has the content to adapt, but the DCEU failed miserably, so we shall see? As for Potter, without Rowling knocking out some new stories or re-branding and hoping to finish off the Dumbledore and Grindelwald story, what else is there? Are we about to move firmly into the fan fiction territory where Rowling no longer has any say in her Universe?
That’s also sadly where we are with The Lord of the Rings. There are only two stories, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, both have been filmed. Any of the older stories are covered mostly in a book that WB/D don’t have the rights to. As we’ve seen with Amazon, that doesn’t stop fan fiction. However what true connection does this really have to Tolkien’s works? Will we just end up with fan fiction accounts of the early days of Aragorn and Gandalf?
I get it, WB/D are saying, we have the rights to these massive giants and we are not making money off them. But actually doing that successfully without hurting the brand further is tricky. Just ask Amazon, or Disney with Star Wars, and more. I am a fan of Harry Potter, and of DC and even more so The Lord of the Rings. I’m excited to see what the DCU is like and whether they can pull it off. However I have almost no excitement for whatever WB/D ends up doing with Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
What do you think as WB/D exec says the DCU, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings expansions are only just starting? Thoughts below as always.