NBCUniversal lays claim to Harry Potter TV rights

All films in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World franchise will have a new US home at NBCUniversal beginning July 2018, shortly after Disney's rights to the films expire.
August 9, 2016

The literary works of J.K. Rowling have, for years now, cast a spell over children and adults alike with their irresistible tales of wizards and imaginary worlds.

Now NBCUniversal is looking to tap into that magic through a multi-million-dollar deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

The agreement includes US broadcast and cable network television rights for all films in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World franchise. Currently, Disney holds rights to the Potter films, which collectively generated about US$7.7 billion in worldwide box office sales between 2001 to 2011. That distribution agreement is set to end in June 2018.

Beginning July 1, 2018, all eight Harry Potter films will be available on NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s USA Network and Syfy. The agreement also grants the company rights to air the films across all NBCUniversal television networks, as well as exclusive basic cable rights to the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films. The first movie in the new series—Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them—will hit the silver screen this November.

The multi-media partnership includes on-air and digital rights across NBCUniversal television networks through April 2025. The deal also creates the possibility for joint digital initiatives to support the franchise through J.K. Rowling’s global digital publisher, Pottermore.

Additionally, the agreement incorporates exclusive content and events for Universal theme parks, as Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Japan continue to explore fan events, movie screenings and additional promotional activities.

The deal undoubtedly serves to expand the ever-growing Harry Potter universe. Scholastic, HarperCollins and Insight Editions are all developing publishing programs in anticipation of the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films. And for its part, Warner Bros. Consumer Products recently revealed an array of new licensing and merchandising programs for J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World franchise. The consumer product push will include apparel, toys, collectibles, housewares and stationery.

With files from Darah Hansen.

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