Rowling's empire expands with Potter prequel
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is one of the most anticipated films of the year and, for its star, the themes of tolerance and acceptance are more relevant than ever.
“It’s interesting because one of the things I love about what Jo writes is for all the warmth and the whimsy and the magic, she reflects contemporary themes,” said actor Eddie Redmayne.
“The film deals with segregation and repression but with a lightness of touch that feels kind of unique to her,” he said.
Fantastic Beasts is the first major spin-off of the Potter franchise, and is set some 50 years before Harry Potter was even born.
Fantastic Beasts will also be the first of five new films planned by Warner Bros.
Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a British wizard previously mentioned in the Potter novels, who arrives in New York with a mysterious bag.
“When the films came every year or two, I would love getting this massive J K Rowling wizarding hug. And when I read this script, I loved that it felt so different, fresh and new.”
The film’s release is hot on the heels of West End hit The Cursed Child, which won best play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards last night.
It also expands J K Rowling’s empire, now compared to brands such as Disney and James Bond, and means the author is worth more than George Clooney and David Beckham put together.
Adding to book sales – which have surpassed 450 million copies – there’s also The Warner Bros Studio tour in London and theme parks in the States which have become lucrative tourist attractions.
The success of Potter is obviously down to the stories – but Rowling’s integrity, her rags to riches story and the control she retains over her brand must also play a part.
Brand expert Rita Clifton says creating spin-offs can be dangerous for beloved brands.
“Letting it go into merchandising and franchises which are out of your control always constitutes a great risk,” she said.
“What you mustn’t do though is destroy the magic, that emotional connection people have got with Harry Potter.”
Some may be cynical about another spin-off, but with largely positive reviews for Fantastic Beasts, the power of Potter looks set to endure for many years to come.