Warner Bros. Discovery CFO on ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ Franchises: ‘We’re Only Just Starting to Expand’
Never fear, genre fans: Warner Bros. Discovery is intent on mining as much of its tentpole Warner Bros. IP as possible in the near future, whether that be through its upcoming revamped DC Universe, the newly announced “The Lord of the Rings” movies, or more projects based on J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise amid the success of video game “Hogwarts Legacy.”
“DC is an enormous opportunity and two important building blocks are in place now with the leadership team, Peter [Safran] and James [Gunn], and James has been breathing comics for as long as he’s been alive, essentially,” Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said during a panel at Morgan Stanley’s investor conference Wednesday. “A great creative leader here. And the second building block that is in place is the one-company approach, because I think you can only manage a franchise if everything is coordinated and the team is working together extremely well. There’s an enormous level of collaboration and joint decision making around what should work hand in hand across the franchise.”
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But DC is not the only Warner Bros.-owned world that WBD leadership is interested in capitalizing on: “Take ‘Harry Potter’ as an example, the Wizarding World, the fact that we are enjoying this massive success with the ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ launch, 12 years after the last film came out, shows that there is so much opportunity and we’re only just starting to expand that,” Wiedenfels said. “We’ve got the new ‘Harry Potter’ tour coming up in Tokyo in the middle of the year. Long story short, I think this one-company approach, great leadership in the individual business units, but coordinated franchise management is probably one of the biggest opportunities the company has.”
As for when are we going to get the new “Lord of the Rings” films, which Warner Bros. announced during its recent fourth-quarter earnings call, Wiedenfels was evasive, but hopeful.
“David made a promise, quote unquote, very early on to revitalize some of that iconic, tentpole IP and we’re starting to make progress,” the CFO said. “It’s exciting to see how people are coming in and out and how the creative community is embracing this opportunity to work with us. That’s going to bear fruit, over time.”
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