Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was surely a landmark event in modern marketing and adaptation. Capitalizing upon the worldwide success of the trail blazed by J.K. Rowling's phenomenally popular Harry Potter books, the original series has spun off into movies, in-universe books, merchandise of everything from scarves to jewelry to condoms, and even a freaking theme park.
The total box office gross for the Harry Potter movies is currently sitting at an eye-watering $7.7 billion, averaging nearly $1 billion per movie — and that's just the movies. It was the highest grossing film franchise ever until it was overtaken by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's set to get back in the game later this year when the spin-off/prequel movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases.
Speaking of spin-offs, let's go back to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The Jack Thorne-written, Rowling-approved, canon stage play premiered at London's West End Palace Theatre back in July to rave reviews, though the official release of the book version of the screenplay was met with a cooler reception from some fans.
Regardless of how strange the premise of the plot is, the book still sold more than 2 million copies in the first two days of release, and so the whispers began.
So it's hardly a surprise that the internet was abuzz with rumors that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would take one more leap along the adaptation scale — from screenplay, to stage show, to book... to a feature length movie.
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The rumor pyre was stoked once more when the New York Daily News cited certain Hollywood sources claiming that Warner Bros. was in talks to bring Harry Potter and the Cursed Child full circle into that fabled movie. Most excitingly, the blockbuster studio was interested in getting the man behind the glasses himself — Daniel Radcliffe — back on board.
As NYDN reported:
Warners is secretly working on getting the movie rights and a screenplay settled, and of course in their minds only one man should be Harry. However [Radcliffe] has made it clear that his mind is certainly not focused on returning to the role anytime soon — and that could be until he hits 40.
While this supposed source didn't directly state that the movie would be an adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, their description of the proposed screenplay sounded pretty darn similar to that of the stage play, with it said to be focused upon Harry's son — Albus Severus Potter. So of course, as this is the internet, the NYDN story was quickly picked up by other publications, and the rumor spread like fiendfyre.
But, because we're not allowed to have nice things, Warner Bros. has now officially responded to the rumor mill via a statement to The Huffington Post. And it might not be what you want to hear:
'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' is a stage play, with no plans for there to be a film.
Before you go weeping into your Butterbeer though, it's worth taking this rejection with a big pinch of Shimmering Silver Salt Drops (yes, we're running with this).
Firstly, this statement only denies that Warner Bros. isn't currently planning to make a movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It doesn't preclude a different sequel being in the works, or indeed a Cursed Child adaptation happening at some point. As Gizmodo's Germain Lussier puts it:
We're not pretending that Warner Bros. won't shelve the franchise out of love and loyalty to the fans. We're sure that's part of it, but the biggest motivator is the most obvious.
While Warner isn't exactly rummaging behind its couch cushions for spare change right now, it hasn't had a major success on the level of Harry Potter since the franchise ended. Its foray into the superhero genre with the DC Extended Universe has been a big box office success, but nowhere near the level that Harry Potter was. And the less said about those reviews, the better.
But perhaps they've learned some lessons from the DCEU with how they're moving forward with the Harry Potter franchise. Remember, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is due out in November and it's set to kick off a whole other trilogy, the second installment of which is expected November 16, 2018 with the third releasing November 20, 2020.
Right now they're banking on Fantastic Beasts sparking a renewed commercial interest in the franchise, since it's been a whole five years since Harry Potter ended in cinemas (I know, we feel old too). And the world we were introduced to through Rowling's books is easily as expansive as that of the DC and Marvel universes.
Warner has dipped its toe in the pool with the Harry Potter series, but Fantastic Beasts will really be the crowbar that prizes open the world of Harry Potter outside of the boundaries of Hogwarts. From there, the possibilities are endless.
A sequel following the Potter children; an exploration of the lives of young Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald; a look at the challenges faced by Hermione as the Minister for Magic; a follow up to what happened to Teddy Lupin; a retelling of the entire saga from the perspective of Fred and George... There are hundreds of storylines that could be spun out of this universe. But first Fantastic Beasts will test the waters to see how the audience reacts to this new take on their old favorite.
Look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the fresh slate of Star Wars movies on the horizon. The shared narrative universe is a relatively new staple of cinema, but it's also proved to be highly profitable and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Even if it's not The Cursed Child, don't think for a second that we've seen the last of potential Harry Potter sequels floating about at Warner Bros.
And who knows, maybe on The Cursed Child front they're just waiting for age to catch up with the main cast. Maybe in 15 or 20 years we'll see Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint come together again as the legitimately older Harry, Ron and Hermione, making us forget the rubbish attempt to age up the young stars at the end of Deathly Hallows.
Do you want to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child turned into a movie? Or do you have a better idea for a sequel? Have your say in the comments, and go behind the scenes of the stage play in the video below!