Warner Bros. Discovery C.E.O. Wants More ‘Harry Potter’ Movies With J.K. Rowling—Because Why Wouldn’t They
The current CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, has been many several controversial choices since the merger was confirmed. Canceling movies like Batgirl, shuttering entire animation departments, and much, much more, none of it good. During a recent meeting with investors, Zaslav said he plans to focus on franchises, including Harry Potter, to increase profits for the company.
“We’re going to focus on franchises,” Zaslav said during Thursday’s investor call, per The Hollywood Reporter. “We haven’t had a Superman movie in 13 years. We haven’t done a Harry Potter in 15 years. The DC movies and the Harry Potter movies provided a lot of the profits for Warner Bros…over the past 25 years.” He mentioned Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling by name, saying: “If we can do something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward.”
Beyond that strange bit of math about not making a Superman or Harry Potter movie in 13/15 years, this shows that despite J.K. Rowling’s controversy as the most well-known transphobe in the world and the fact that the Fantastic Beasts movies are horrible—they are still seen as profitable. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Because while there are certainly those who have stopped buying and consuming Harry Potter, as well as Harry Potter-related fansites and organizations that have parted ways with Rowling, more people either (a) don’t care about the politics, (b) are trying to separate the IP from the creator, and (c) endorse the hateful politics of J.K. Rowling and do it out of spite.
I empathize with non-binary and trans fans of Harry Potter who want to enjoy the franchise in peace. It is exhausting having your identity politicized without your consent. And if you love this series and it helped you with something pivotal, it makes sense to want to keep it. But we need to ensure we do this with our eyes fully open to what Rowling is doing with the money she gets in royalties and who she is helping to platform with the messaging she spreads. Not just people who are openly transphobic, but there are also racists, people who affiliate with the proud boys, and anti-gay activists who have jumped onto transphobia to build their numbers.
As someone whose entire personality was Slytherin for years, I get the loss that this can feel like. But there are still ways to enjoy the Potter verse without putting money into Rowling’s pockets. Fanfiction, fan art, and transformative fan works in general. I’ve even gotten some related fan merch from people on Etsy who have been trans-affirming. It is worth the effort to detach yourself from new material by Rowling, because it is directly allowing her to continue platforming some of the worst people and her own terrible views.
Because she’s not going to stop. She has no reason to. She is immensely profitable. And she will remain so as long as we continue to act as though there is a clean separation between the stuff she is saying and the products featuring her IP. Like, if DanRad gets it—so should we.
(via THR, image: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
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