After "Potter," Warner Bros eyes magic from DC Comics

Mon Jul 4, 2011 2:26pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If only they could wave a magic wand, studio executives at Warner Bros. would make their "Harry Potter" film franchise last forever. But movie magic takes more than a whisk of a stick to conjure up.

When "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" opens on July 15, it marks the beginning of the end for the highest grossing movie series of all time -- $6 billion worldwide box office -- and one that has given Hollywood studio Warner Bros. a stable revenue source since 2001.

The end of "Harry Potter" has led financial analysts to wonder what Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc., has planned to fill the gap when the series about the young magician, his friends, and their battle against evil comes to an end.

With this eighth movie, Warner Bros. has tapped all the books in the "Harry Potter" series from author J.K. Rowling, which are the backbone of the films.

"Overall, you're not going to capture all the mojo created from 'Harry Potter,' but you've got some real potential there with reboots of existing franchises and sequels of already existing properties," said David Miller, an analyst with Caris & Company.

For summer 2012, Warner Bros can bank on "The Dark Knight Rises," the third Batman movie directed by Christopher Nolan and the follow-up to his 2008 "The Dark Knight," which topped $1 billion in world ticket sales.

Also next year, the studio looks to release its highly anticipated "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which is a prequel to its successful "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Last year, the studio's then president and chief operating officer Alan Horn said at an industry event in Las Vegas that as "Harry Potter" fades away, the company would rely more on its rich source of characters and material in its DC Comics unit.   Continued...