Is Harry Potter the secret to HBO Max magic?
With HBO Max having such a soft opening, they're going crazy trying to find ways to bolster their viewership. We saw them move huge movie titles to the app, and now they're trying to grab original programming that will draw major attention.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "A Harry Potter live-action TV series is in early development at HBO Max. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that executives at the WarnerMedia-backed streamer have engaged in multiple conversations with potential writers exploring various ideas that would bring the beloved property to television. Sources say broad ideas have been discussed as part of the early-stage exploratory meetings."
This has always seemed like the natural pivot for the property and Warner Brothers. Many of the Potter movies feel like watching CliffsNotes on the books. That's not to say the writers and directors have not pulled off exciting feats, but that the stories and world are so expansive that they may work better in television.
These series look to be more original works within the universe and not retellings of Harry's legend.
Of course, there are lots of hurdles to get through before we see any of this debut. The rights to the Potter universe are all over the place, with some companies owning the movies, some the theme park rights, and others trying to bundle everything together for later.
Again, from THR, "NBCUniversal in 2016 inked a rich seven-year rights deal with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution that included U.S. broadcast, cable and streaming rights to the Wizarding World franchise. That deal, which ends in April 2025, included digital initiatives as well as theme park content and events."
Aside from all this, there is also the J. K. Rowling hurdle. Recently, she's spoken out against transgender rights and made harmful comments about the trans community. She's faced off with fans during a bitter and spiteful fight that turned many of her most ardent fans against her. Some might be able to separate the art from the artist, especially with new creators taking on the universe, but that might be changed depending on her level of involvement.
As a massive Potter fan, I would love nothing more than to write on those shows, so I'll put that out into the universe here. There are so many stories to explore, but also new tales that could be created. It's as big as Star Wars with just as many possibilities.
It's amazing to me that HBO Max didn't have this all planned when they debuted. It seems like a Potter show would have drawn them tens of millions of subscribers right away. Still, better late than never.
Let us know what you think of all this in the comments.