Saturday, May 18, 2024

Harry Potter: New Chapter of Extreme Money Making Begins as Live Play Readied for Broadway and London’s West End


J.K. Rowling cannot stop thinking of ways to make money from “Harry Potter.” Seven best selling books and eight movies that made billions weren’t enough for her. After swearing that was “it” for Harry and co., Rowling has cooked up a gift that will reap royalties around the world forever. And I do mean forever, if there is one.

My colleague Baz Bamigboye broke the story in the UK Daily Mail– and it’s been lifted by everyone since yesterday: Rowling has written a play that will have music (but won’t be a musical) called “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” She insists it’s not a prequel, but it sounds like one: it’s what happened to Harry’s parents and everything leading up to Rowling’s gold mine.

Is it a musical? Not exactly. But John Tiffany, who directs musicals, is going to helm it. Among his hits is “Once,” which won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Stephen Hoggett, the famed choreographer from “Once” and many other hits, is involved. Doesn’t that sound like a musical? Baz insists, “It’s not a musical.”

But Imogen Heap, a brilliant female pop composer, is writing some kind of music for it. She’s very popular in the UK and well known here.

My old friend Colin Callender, and Sonia Friedman, are the producers. But the big big spare no expense money comes from Warner Theatricals, aka Warner Bros. which made the films. And down the line, I am sure, there will be a movie — or two– based on the play.

“Cursed Child” will the trace the story of Harry’s parents as well as what we think of as the older (but back then younger) Hogwarts population. My guess is it includes with the birth of the Golden Child. And we’ll see Lord Voldemort kill the parents, the way all super hero parents (Spider Man, Batman, et al) are usually offed. I can guarantee you that with Tiffany and Hoggett, you will see a Quidditch match in the air that will echo Julie Taymor.

Anyway, as Baz points out, demand for tickets when they go on sale in London will be historic. Tickets go on sale this fall, and performances will start next summer when children are out of school. I can imagine a spring 2017 opening on Broadway in time for Tony Awards.

And then? “Cursed Child” will run all over the world, in every city and country, as a stage show with tickets costing well over $100. Just think of rooms overflowing with silver and gold coins, money, money, money, in perpetuity, like “The Lion King.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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