Wizarding World of Harry Potter Park to be Built at Universal Studios Hollywood

It’s official. Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Universal Studios Orlando. The success of Wizarding World in Orlando has been beyond even the imagination of any theme park executive, so it is not surprising that they are aiming to replicate the success of the Florida park in Hollywood.

There is no such thing as a sure thing but it seems a safe bet that Wiazarding World in Los Angeles will be a huge commercial success. Universal Studios Orlando Resort reported that attendance at the parks leapt 41 percent from last June 2010 to June 2011.
The increase in visitors is exceptional with nearly 3.6 million people visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in the second quarter of 2011. Wizarding World Orlando has welcomed more than 10 million visitors since it opened.

It seems that the $265 million spent on Wizarding World was a very wise investment. Universal’s president, Ron Meyer said his company would spend “several hundred million dollars” to create the Hollywood Wizarding World attraction. He also added that it would be built within the confines of the current park.

There is now of course speculation that existing rides will have to be demolished as there really isn’t that much room for expansion. But some have suggested that the Gibson Amphitheater will be demolished. Anything at the moment is just speculation but it does appear that although this amphitheater is still used it is under consideration for a possible site.

Other very welcome news is that around 1,000 jobs will be created as a result of the Wizarding project.

When will the new Wizarding World open in Los Angeles? It is likely that it will be around 2015.

What will the new Wizarding World theme park feature? Not many details have yet been revealed but it was confirmed that there will be a Hogwarts (couldn’t really be left out could it)?. Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey will be inside Hogwarts but it is not yet known if it will be a complete copy of the original.

No other attractions were specifically mentioned at the announcement. Learning from the experience in Orlando the new World should most definitely have more space in the shops. Whilst the shops in Orlando are authentically detailed they are incredibly small. It will be interesting to see how this design and function dilemma is solved – how do they make it seem like Hogsmead but make the attractions large enough to be able to deal with the crowds.

There was no official announcement on the cost of building Wizarding World but there are rumors that the budget is $200 million. Whilst this is of course a huge amount, it is considerably less than the $265 million cost of Wizarding World in Orlando. Does this mean that some attractions will be scaled down?

Another very exciting announcement made yesterday is that Wizarding World in Orlando is definitely going to expand. Really this is no surprise but it is very welcome news to Harry Potter fans visiting Orlando. The one down side of Wizarding World is the crowds and the lines. The expansion will hopefully bring even more magic to Harry Potter fans.

What do you want to see in Wizarding World Hollywood? Leave me a comment below.

Harry Potter Page To Screen: The Complete Film Making Journey

The new Harry Potter Page To Screen: The Complete Film Making Journey is a fascinating book for anyone who wants to know more about the making of the Harry Potter movies. For me one of the best features of any of the Harry Potter movie DVDs is the extra features that they include, particularly the behind the scenes details that they have. This excellent new book takes you behind the scenes of all the movies and gives huge amounts of details about the film making process, the sets, the costumes and has lots of details about the movie making process.

When I first picked up the book it was in a traditional book store with a price tag of $75. And let’s be clear that ‘picking up’ this book is no easy task – it is heavy! At 531 large pages with very high quality binding this is a gigantic coffee table style book. I was more than prepared to pay the $75 price but as always wanted to check out the price on Amazon first. I was so pleased to see it offered there at a 40% discount. At $45 this book is a bargain.

Harry Potter Page To Screen Discounted

Part I: The Making of Harry Potter

Setting the Scene
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Part II: The Art of Harry Potter

Characters: Costuming
Locations: Set Design
Creatures: Special Makeup and Digital Effects
Artifacts: Prop Making

Part III: Epilogue

The Golden Boards
Acknowledgements and Colophon

The Page To Screen book goes into a lot of detail right from the start. It is difficult to imagine a world without the books and the movies and it is interesting to read about how the Harry Potter movie franchise started out. David Heyman was skeptical at first about the new book and thought that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone did not seem ‘like a very good title’. Fortunately as soon as he read the book he ‘fell in love’. Even Heyman could never have predicted the amazing success of the Harry Potter movies and thought it would ‘at most, the first book might make a good, modestly sized British film”. Fortunately for all of us the Harry Potter movies became rather more than that.

The book is a must for Harry Potter fans who are fascinated by the movie. The quality high, the pictures breathtaking, and the insight it gives into the movie making process is fascinating. And at that price on Amazon is a deal too good to pass.

Harry Potter the Complete 8 Film Collection

Should you buy  Harry Potter the Complete 8 Film Collection or wait until the release of the new box set some time in 2012?  Warner Brothers recently announced that all of the 8 Harry Potter movies will be temporarily unavailable until some time in 2012. Yes even the recently released Harry Potter Complete 8 Film Collection and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.  Time is running out for Harry Potter movie fans as the existing Harry Potter movie dvd’s will no longer be shipped to stores and retailers after 29th December 2011. So if you want to be sure to get a copy of any of the movies you do have to act now.

Of course this is the oldest marketing ploy in the book.  Make something unavailable so that you can sell more copies when you relaunch. The Disney Vault has been doing this for many years.  This technique has been extremely successful for Disney movies.  Generally the movie goes into the ‘vault’ for a decade and then is relaunched with different and enhanced features. The scarcity of the particular movie has meant that used copies have become very expensive. Scarcity has really worked in driving costs up for fans who want the movie and don’t mind paying the price. Is this going to happen for a Harry Potter fan who really wants the movie in the time when it isn’t available. Are you going to have to pay a high price on eBay? I would say that his is unlikely. The period of time when the Harry Potter movies are not going to be available is likely to be short enough that speculators on the second hand market really will not get a foothold.

Fortunately for Harry Potter fans the wait for the release of the movies will not be anywhere near 10 years.  But when the release will come in 2012 is anyone’s guess.  This was the statement that Warner Brothers made:

“Hard-core Potter fans will be pleased to know that 2011 is not the end of the Harry Potter film franchise on DVD and Blu-ray. Warner Home Video plans to release a comprehensive Harry Potter film collection, with even more extras and collectible premiums in 2012. More details about the collection will be available at a later date.”

The most online sales are always made in the last couple of months of the year.  So the obvious release date for the Harry Potter Ultimate 8 DVD Collection is surely November 2012.  But will the Harry Potter DVDs really be off the market for that long? Will they release each edition separately? Buying DVDs these days just seems to be ridiculously complicated.  The format choice is easy – either you have upgraded to Blu-ray or you haven’t.  But what of the extra features?  Do you just want the movies?  The Digitally upgraded version? The one with all the extra features? The one with the picture book?  The digital copy? The choices are endless and complicated.

The Harry Potter movies are phenomenal and for fans all over the world they have brought the Wizarding World to life in ways in which even the books could not.  But navigating the world of Harry Potter movie dvds is not easy.

What do you think?  Will you be waiting for the new releases in 2012?  Or are you scrambling to buy the last available current Harry Potter DVDs.  Leave me a comment below.