Warner Bros. Consumer Products is planning to cast a spell on wizarding fans of all ages with its new licensing program for upcoming feature film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie hits the big screen November 18, and the opportunity to work with new material from the Harry Potter universe was a thrill, says WBCP president Pam Lifford.
“It’s so exciting, almost like starting all over again,” she says of being introduced to the new characters and creatures in the upcoming movie. “But it also feels really familiar, because there’s this emotional connection to this world. We knew we needed to make sure these new products connected to the heartstrings of fans in the same way.”
The spin-off, developed from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, also marks author J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut. The film follows Newt Scamander (played by Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne), a magizoologist who travels the world discovering and documenting the existence of all manner of magical creatures.
Fans of the original Potter book series and films are grown up now, Lifford says, and introducing their own families to Harry’s adventures at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Because of this broad consumer base, WBCP is expanding the program to include new categories.
Apparel targeting kids and adults is a key driver, and ranges will feature character-inspired pieces as well as fashion-forward designs that don’t directly replicate costumes in the film, but rather give a nod to the property. Publishing, collectibles, costumes, home décor and stationery are also categories of focus.
A number of licensees have already signed on to the North American consumer products program for the film, including Scholastic (publishing), HarperCollins (publishing), Insight Editions (publishing), The Noble Collection (collectibles), Funko (figures), Rubie’s Costumes (costumes), Bioworld (apparel, accessories), Elope (apparel), Jacmel and Carrat Shop (accessories) and Northwest (bedding).
WBCP is also currently looking to continue expanding Fantastic Beasts into new, increasingly creative categories, and hopes to see these products inform and further bolster items already connected to the existing Harry Potter universe.
Products began trickling out to mass and specialty retailers in mid-September, and the assortment will continue to grow in anticipation of the film’s November premiere across North America, EMEA, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
“J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World holds an iconic place in our cultural history,” Lifford says. As the brand continues to expand, WBCP hopes to keep that magic alive with licensing that connects back to the heart of what fans have always loved about Harry Potter.