Hogwarts is heading to Hollywood! According to the LA Times, Universal and Warner Bros. are finalizing a deal to build a replica of ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’, similar to the one that is in Universal Studios Orlando, inside their Hollywood theme park location. A formal announcement of the plans should be issued within the next few weeks.
Universal wasn’t the only company that was vying for the contract. Word has it that the Walt Disney Company was also in discussions to secure the rights for their Disneyland theme park in Anaheim but Universal won out. It wasn’t a total loss for Disney as they did acquire the rights to build an area based on the movie ‘Avatar’ at their Orlando theme park location.
The new ‘Harry Potter’ theme attraction is expected to cost around $200 million to build (the one in Orlando cost $265 million) and will likely resemble its counterpart which includes Hogwarts Castle, rollercoasters, and several Potter-themed shops and restaurants such as Ollivanders Wand Shop, Hog’ Head Tavern, Honeydukes and Three Broomsticks. With the help of ‘Harry Potter’ production designer Stuart Craig, the Orlando ‘Potter’ World has such an attention to detail that many fans feel as though they have walked into the books itself. If all goes to plan, the
new attraction should open sometime in 2015.
The one problem that many are wondering is where would Universal put the ‘Potter’ attraction? The theme park in Hollywood is much smaller than the one in Orlando and the land availability to expand is nonexistent. Right now, they are building a ‘Transformers’ 3D ride where the old ‘Backdraft’ attraction was located. This ride is scheduled to open in the spring. Obviously older attractions/rides would have to be removed or redesigned to make room for ‘Potter.’ But which one?
Universal is hoping that by building ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’, it will bring in the revenue that made Orlando’s version a success. Within a year it opened in June, 2010, the attraction drew in an additional 1.1 million visitors to the park and doubled their revenue to $309 million. Since then, more than 7 million people have visited the world of ‘Harry Potter’ and it’s the leading cause of the park’s increase of 36% in attendance in the first three months of this year. If the Hollywood ‘Harry Potter’ attraction is successful, additional attractions could be built at the Universal parks in Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Spain.
As with all things that deal with the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, before anything can be built, it will require the consent of author J.K. Rowling.
News like this is enough to make any muggle stand up and cheer. We’ll let you know once the official release of the deal is made. In the meantime, which attraction do you think will be removed in favor of the ‘Potter’ attraction?