NBCUniversal has purchased the rights to both the JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, in a deal estimated to be worth as much as $200m according to the Wall Street journal.
The Comcast-owned company has snatched the television and theme park rights away from existing licensee Walt Disney, in what is believed to be the largest movie-rights acquisition agreement it has ever signed.
As part of the seven-year deal with movie maker Warner Bros, which takes effect in 2018, all eight Harry Potter movies and the yet-to-be released Fantastic Beasts trilogy will be aired across NBC’s cable networks, including on USA and Syfy. The agreement includes exclusive basic cable rights to Fantastic Beasts films – the first of which will hit cinemas in November.
The move could help boost ratings for the network’s channels, and also attendance at the its entertainment resorts since the agreement will incorporate exclusive content and events for the Universal theme parks.
“JK Rowling’s Wizarding World has captured the imagination of fans of all ages, from all walks of life, all over the world…and I’m definitely one of them,” said Bonnie Hammer, chairman at NBCUniversal cable entertainment.
“I’m thrilled that our networks will be the home for this brilliant storyteller’s magical creations for years to come.”