UPDATE: 12:52 p.m. EDT — A representative from Freeform confirmed to International Business Times that they will stop airing the “Harry Potter” films when NBCUniversal’s deal goes into effect in 2018.
Original story: “Harry Potter” weekends might not be a Freeform staple soon. NBCUniversal signed an exclusive deal to have the cable and broadcast rights to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World films.
Potterheads know that the Wizarding World films soon will include non-“Potter” films. NBCUniversal announced that their channels will have exclusive rights to not only the eight original films but also the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” trilogy. The first movie in the 1920s-set series hits theaters in November and stars Eddie Redmayne.
NBCUniversal owns many channels, but Freeform (formerly ABC Family) isn’t one of them. That’s likely bad news for fans who have grown to love the “Harry Potter” weekend marathons that the network often runs. However, Freeform still has plenty of time to schedule more trips back to Hogwarts. NBC’s deal won’t go into effect until July 1, 2018.
It’s not as if fans won’t be able to see the “Harry Potter” films. It sounds like NBCUniversal networks will be airing them plenty on both USA and Syfy, and they’ll even throw in some bonus footage. In addition to airing 3D versions, they’ll also show extended director’s cuts as well as the 2011 featurette “When Harry Left Hogwarts.”
The “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” films will be airing on NBCUniversal channels through 2025. The deal could be worth as much as $250 million, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
NBCUniversal’s deal isn’t just for TV rights either. They also get digital rights and plan to explore opportunities tied to the Harry Potter theme parks and Pottermore.
“Additionally through this deal, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Japan can explore a range of new opportunities including fan events, movie screenings and promotional activities tied to the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise and the upcoming ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film series,” a press release reveals. “The deal also envisages collaboration on joint digital initiatives to support the franchise, working with J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore, the digital heart of the Wizarding World, which hosts articles, features and exclusive, original writing by J.K. Rowling.”
The deal is just the latest “Potter”-related success for Rowling. The “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” scripts sold millions of copies in their first days on shelves, and tickets for the stage version of the show have been selling out.
Freeform has not responded to International Business Times’ requests for comment.