Get ready for more from Harry Potter in the future as Warner Bros. has promoted executive Tom Ascheim to oversee the franchise. Part of his new duties will include expanding the Wizarding World beyond what already exists. What, precisely, that will entail is anyone's guess at this point but with HBO Max becoming a bigger part of the WarnerMedia corporate structure, that seems like one logical area for expansion. In any case, we are likely to get much more from the franchise with a high-ranking executive now in charge of its future.
Tom Ascheim, in his new role, will be the chief representative of WarnerMedia in its dealings with author J.K. Rowling, who penned the beloved Harry Potter books, as well as her reps, agent Neil Blair and Blair Partnership Chief Creative Officer James McKnight. Ascheim will report directly to WarnerMedia chief Ann Sarnoff. It also noted that his new responsibilities will include expanding the Wizarding World "property for the studio's various outlets and platform partners." Sarnoff had this to say about it in a statement.
"In Harry Potter and the Wizarding World, we have an iconic franchise and characters that have become a beloved part of the lives of millions around the world. This new management of the franchise highlights its enormous importance to Warner Bros. and the myriad opportunities we see for continuing to engage and delight fans of all ages across the globe. I'm excited for Tom to be leading our efforts and look to him and his team to work across the company to discover innovative and creative ways of keeping the Wizarding World fresh and relevant for years to come."
The move makes sense. The Harry Potter movies, not counting the Fantastic Beasts prequels, earned nearly $8 billion at the global box office. The books remain tremendously popular to this day, with J.K. Rowling ranking as one of the most successful authors in history. With the prevalence of streaming, Warner Bros. could easily expand the franchise to the small screen as well, much like what Disney and Lucasfilm have done with Star Wars. Tom Ascheim had this to say.
"I've been an avid Harry Potter fan for years and an admiring observer of how the Wizarding World franchise has been managed. I'm honored to now be leading the very talented individuals and teams who have done such a great job in growing this brand and its meaning and value to fans everywhere. I look forward to going even further in exploring and expanding all of the opportunities we have in this incredible world."
There are other considerations here. For one, Rowling has been mired in controversy in recent years. The author has made repeated comments about transgender people that have damaged her public image greatly. Plus, the Fantastic Beasts series, which is currently filming its third entry, has had its own issues. Johnny Depp was recently replaced as Grindelwald, given his very public issues stemming from his allegedly abusive relationship with his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Mads Mikkelsen has been tapped to play the villain in his stead.
No projects, specifically, have been announced by Warner Bros. at this time. There is an open-world Harry Potter video game on the way, and the Fantastic Beasts franchise is expected to run for five movies. But with the promotion of Tom Ascheim, there is surely much more to come. This news comes to us via Variety.