Warner Bros. Entertainment U.K., Ireland and Spain president Josh Berger recently spoke about how Harry Potter helped the VFX business in Europe as well as some new tidbits on the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films. On visual effects he says:
Berger noted that with the first Harry Potter film in 2000, less than 15% of the VFX work was done in the UK. By the final film’s production in 2010, more than 85% of the effects were done in Britain. “There was an expansion of the skill base, the assets, the sheer numbers of people working in the industry.”
It was that base of skills and talent that Warner could again tap into for the groundbreaking Gravity, with London-based Framestore leading the VFX.
He then mentioned a bit about the Fantastic Beasts films:
The film is set to be released in Nov. 2016 and is expected to be followed by further movies. Fantastic Beasts is set in 1920s New York and features U.S. and British wizards, he told his audience, but didn’t discuss the status of the script.
Variety is reporting that the first film in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series will be released on November 18th 2016. Cast and a director still have not been announced but as we’ve reported in the past, J.K. Rowling is writing the screenplay and David Heyman is producing.
Warner Bros. topper Kevin Tsujihara revealed in March that the studio was following in the footsteps of “The Hobbit” franchise with three “megamovies” for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Tsujihara persuaded Rowling last year to revive the Harry Potter movie magic by adapting her Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for the big screen. Rowling wrote the 54-page book in 2001 between publication of the fourth and fifth Potter books.
Set initially in New York about seven decades before the start of the Harry Potter story, the films will follow magizoologist Newt Scamander. They’re not prequels or sequels, but an “extension of the wizarding world.”
Graphic Artists Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina, who own the company MinaLima, had a panel at A Celebration of Harry Potter and today we have the footage from that session. The two designers discussed how they went about designing all the props for the Harry Potter films and even shared some pieces that didn’t make the final cut or weren’t fully shown in the films. They also teased that some of their designs will be found in the new Diagon Alley expansion.
Amazon and Warner Bros. are releasing a Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection DVD/BluRay set this coming February 25, 2014. This seems to be a more light-weight version of the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection set released last year. It is priced at $174.99 and contains all eight Harry Potter movies on Blu-ray, DVD and UltraViolet and more than 37 hours of special features including the Creating the World of Harry Potter documentary series. All the features are as follows:
Creating the World of Harry Potter documentary:
Part 1: The Magic Begins – Explore the early decisions that impacted the entire series, and follow the search for the young leads.
Part 2: Characters – Learn about the casting process and how the actors brought J.K. Rowling’s beloved characters to life.
Part 3: Creatures – Meet a new group of wizards: the artists who created the monsters and marvels in Harry’s world.
Part 4: Sound & Music – Hear how the composers and sound experts used their craft to magnify the series’ emotional journey.
Part 5: Evolution – Join the filmmakers as they discuss how the creative vision for the films evolved throughout the series.
Part 6: Magical Effects – Watch how technical wizards conjured up an amazing alternate reality using CGI and practical effects.
Part 7: Story – Listen in as J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves discuss how the books were adapted for the screen.
Part 8: Growing Up – See how the young stars’ ideas of acting, fame and themselves have changed over ten years.
PLUS A BONUS DISC with over 3 hours of features including:
“The Harry Potters You Never Met” – Meet the stunt doubles for Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as they demonstrate how they balanced major stunt work with seamlessly mimicking the actors they represented and share their favorite moments.
“Designing the World of Harry Potter” – Explore how production designer Stuart Craig and his creative team brought J.K. Rowling’s imagination to life on the screen.
“When Harry Left Hogwarts” (Extended Version) – Hear candid and emotional stories about the final days on set in this extended behind-the-scenes look.
“50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments” (Definitive Version) – Take a look back with cast members who share their on and off-screen memories.
“Secrets Revealed! Quidditch” – At last, the secrets behind the special effects required for the breathtaking Quidditch scenes are revealed!
“Secrets Revealed! Hagrid”- See the camera tricks, towering stand-in and voluminous body suits behind the beloved Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.
It has been announced this morning that Harry Potter producer David Heyman will indeed be producing the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series! He confirmed the news to Entertainment Weekly at the premiere of his film, Gravity, yesterday evening.
[…] said that Rowling hasn’t turned in a finished script just yet, but that “Jo is at work” and tremendously excited about the project. “She’s not doing it for any other reason other than she loves the world and she had a story that she wanted to tell,” he said.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” he continued. “She doesn’t have to go back to this world, but something pulled her back. This is not Harry Potter. This is not Harry, Ron, and Hermione. This is a separate story within a universe related to the Potter universe.”
When asked about which creatures we might see in the film — you better believe I brought up quintapeds and lethifolds — Heyman demured. “We follow Newt on his adventures,” he said, grinning.
The producer said Rowling has no shortage of plot ideas for Fantastic Beasts because she knows Newt Scamander’s history so thoroughly — after all, she created him. “The fact that she’s going to this world means there are stories to tell,” he said. “When I was doing the Harry Potters, what was clear to me is that Jo’s knowledge of this world is infinite. What you read in the books was just the surface of her knowledge. She had notebook upon notebook of stuff. I would call her and say, ‘What’s the sixth use of dragon’s blood?’ and she’d have it at her fingertips.”
The Hollywood Reporter has revealed some new information about how J.K. Rowling decided to screen-write the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films and what her involvement will be. According to the article, Rowling said that without WB exec Kevin Tsujihara, the deal would not have happened. The article also revealed that sources are saying talks are ongoing with David Heyman to produce the films.
The Rowling deal, more than a year in the making, calls for the author herself to write the screenplay for the first film in a series that will center on Newt Scamander, a Hogwarts alum and author of the go-to textbook Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (which makes several appearances in the existing Potter canon). Tsujihara flew to the U.K. several times since the spring to meet with Rowling, who sparked to his demeanor.
“Kevin handled himself really well,” says Ken Kleinberg, Rowling’s L.A.-based attorney, who negotiated the deal with her U.K. agent, Neil Blair. “He was a great listener, and he conveyed sincerity and concern.” Tsujihara’s wooing of the demanding author took some studio insiders by surprise. Many didn’t think celebrity schmoozing was part of his skill set.
[…] Robinov, who is negotiating his exit from the studio, played a key early role in smoothing out a rights issue (Warners had movie rights to characters from the Potter universe but not Newt Scamander).
For Rowling, the most important issue was creative control‚ not an easy ask for a first-time screenwriter. Sources say Warners cannot hire someone else to rewrite her script without her approval — a gamble for the studio and a departure from the Potter films, which were written by such seasoned scribes as Steve Kloves and Michael Goldenberg. Rowling also has script approval on subsequent Fantastic Beasts films.