Image: People gather for a global fan event to preview the film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” at Cineworld IMAX at Leicester Square in London, Britain October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Harry Potter” fans got fantastic news on Thursday.
Author J.K. Rowling said that the Potter spinoff movie franchise “Fantastic Beasts” will consist of five films, up from the previously announced three.
Rowling was speaking to fans at a live event broadcast in movie theatres in selected cities around the world ahead of the November release of the first movie, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
“I can confirm it will be five new movies,” she said. The films will be released by Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc. <TWX.N.>
The British author of the best-selling “Harry Potter” books was speaking at a question-and-answer session with the “Fantastic Beasts” cast in London and Los Angeles. The event was broadcast in cities including Rome, Sao Paulo, Mexico City and New York.
Fans were also treated to a preview of scenes from the first movie, starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, which will open on Nov. 18. It marks Rowling’s debut as a screenwriter.
The film, in which Redmayne plays “magizoologist” Newt Scamander, is a spinoff from the Potter stories with new characters and plot, set in New York City in 1926. Scamander arrives in New York with a case of magical creatures that escape, wreak havoc and face threats from the nonmagical humans in the city.
“Fantastic Beasts” taps in to the eight-film Potter franchise that officially concluded with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” in 2011 and that has taken in more than $7 billion at the global box office. Rowling’s seven-book series sold more than 450 million copies worldwide.
Earlier this year, a new sold-out London play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” cast a spell all over again, and the book version of the script become a best-seller.
(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Matthew Lewis)
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