Warner Bros. executive Tom Ascheim has been promoted to oversee the entire Harry Potter franchise and other properties of the Wizarding World.
Warner Bros. executive Tom Ascheim will oversee the entire Harry Potter franchise, one of the studio’s most coveted intellectual properties. The original eight films made the Harry Potter franchise the third highest-grossing behind Star Wars and the MCU, bringing in over $9.1 billion at the box office worldwide. Warner Bros. decided to revisit the franchise recently with a five-film prequel series starting with 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a commercial success. Still, the series quickly took a turn for the worse with 2019’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which saw the lowest ticket sales of any franchise installment.
Reviving and expanding the Wizarding World fictional universe is no easy task, especially amidst recent controversy. One of the most successful authors of all time, author of the Harry Potter series J.K. Rowling has recently become a controversial figure. She has been heavily criticized for her unsolicited comments regarding transgender people and gender identity. The Fantastic Beasts series has also seen its share of controversy. Johnny Depp quit the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald after losing a libel case against the British tabloid The Sun over an article referring to him as a “wife beater.”
According to Variety, Warner Bros. executive Tom Ascheim has been promoted to oversee the studio’s entire Harry Potter franchise and other Wizarding World properties. Ascheim was previously the studio’s President of Kids, Young Adult, and Classics. “I’ve been an avid Harry Potter fan for years and an admiring observer of how the Wizarding World franchise has been managed,” Ascheim said. “I look forward to going even further in exploring and expanding all of the opportunities we have in this incredible world.” Ann Sarnoff, the chief of WarnerMedia whom Ascheim will report to, made the official announcement.
Over the years, the Wizarding World has become more than just a film franchise. There are Harry Potter-inspired theme parks in Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, and Osaka, Japan. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an original broadway play that follows the Golden Trio nineteen years after the last Harry Potter novel's events.
While the studio did not announce any concrete plans, Ascheim has plenty of opportunities before him in his new role. Since Disney has set the standard with its Star Wars and MCU spinoff series, a Harry Potter spinoff series on HBO Max would be a welcome addition to the Wizarding World. A third Fantastic Beasts film is also coming soon, with Mads Mikkelsen being recast as Grindelwald. Since the Wizarding World has become such an iconic franchise for millions worldwide, there will be massive pressure on Ascheim to keep the Harry Potter franchise relevant and robust.