The LA Times is reporting that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will make its way to Japan, with the announcement, set to be made official Thursday. The report reads, in part:
The Osaka destination — expected to begin construction in the next few weeks with a planned opening in late 2014 and an expected cost of about $500 million — brings Hogwarts Castle and rides including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to the boy wizard’s biggest market outside of the United States.
J. K. Rowling’s series is quite popular in Japan, for the “eight Potter movies grossed nearly $900 million in Japan — more even than in his home country of Britain. Products including magic wand chopsticks have made the Harry Potter brand Japan’s most successful movie-based consumer products line of the last decade.” The Harry Potter theme park is expected to bring a gain in attendance in Japan, as it has done at its first home in Oralndo, Florida.
The author has released the following statement about the news:
“I was delighted to experience and enjoy the attention to detail, creativity and superb craft that went into the first Wizarding World in Orlando. I am equally delighted that the same level of expertise and enjoyment will translate to the new park in Japan.”
Update: Leaky has received official word from WB confirming today’s earlier news. In a press conference slated for Thursday, May 10th Glenn Gumpel, President and CEO of Universal Studios Japan, will be on hand to make the formal announcement, along with others including actors James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley). The full press release reads:
Universal Studios Japan, in partnership with Warner Bros. and Universal Parks & Resorts, will announce later today that they will be bringing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Japan, marking the global expansion of this wildly popular themed entertainment experience that started at Universal Orlando Resort nearly two years ago.
The announcement will be made by Glenn Gumpel, President and CEO, Universal Studios Japan; Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products; and Michael Silver, President, Global Business Development, Universal Parks & Resorts; as well as James and Oliver Phelps, who played the roles of Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, who will be the guests of honor for the announcement. The Governor of Osaka Ichiro Matsui is expected to be on-hand.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is the result of the creative teamwork and efforts by Universal Studios Japan in conjunction with Warner Bros., which produced and distributed the Harry Potter films, and Universal Parks & Resorts, which oversees Universal Studios theme parks, hotels and resorts throughout the world. It will be as magnificent and as impressive as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Just as in Orlando, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will faithfully and authentically bring to life the stories created by J.K. Rowling in her books and captured on screen in Warner Bros.’ films.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando brought significant increases in tourism, jobs and economic benefit to the entire central Florida economy. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is also expected to make a significant impact on tourism in both the Osaka/Kansai region and the entire country, creating thousands of new jobs and bringing economic benefits throughout Japan for decades to come.
“I was delighted to experience and enjoy the attention to detail, creativity and superb craft that went into the first Wizarding World in Orlando. I am equally delighted that the same level of expertise and enjoyment will translate to the new park in Japan,” said J.K. Rowling.
“Harry Potter, the most wonderful and amazing story of our time, is coming to Universal Studios Japan. USJ is thrilled to be chosen to make the Harry Potter experience come alive for the people of Japan. USJ is committed to being the world’s best Theme Park and by bringing this brilliant story to Japan and creating a fantastic experience is yet another validation of that commitment,” said Glenn Gumpel, President and CEO of USJ Co., Ltd. “USJ will recreate to the highest level of authenticity, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, created by Universal Studios in Orlando, which has been enjoyed and cherished by millions and millions of Universal Orlando’s guests. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – USJ’s commitment to bring the world’s best to life.”
The themed area itself will be a fully immersive environment for the entire family that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life and is faithful to the visual landscape of the films, including a majestic Hogwarts castle which will serve as the centerpiece of the land.
“Harry Potter continues to captivate generations of fans around the world and we are delighted to announce this partnership with Universal Studios Japan that will allow us to bring the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Asia,” said Brad Globe, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter allows fans to step into the magical world created in the books and witnessed in the films. We think this is the perfectly timed next step in bringing the magical world of Harry Potter to life for even more fans.”
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will be similar to the spectacularly themed land at Universal Orlando Resort and will include Hogwarts castle, Hogsmeade and multiple themed attractions. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan will be created with the same commitment to authenticity and the same high level of talent and resources, including the creative leadership of Stuart Craig, Production Designer for the entire Harry Potter film series.
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an entirely new level of themed entertainment that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life in incredible ways. It will forever change tourism, not only in Kansai but throughout Japan. We are thrilled to be bringing one of the most powerful themed entertainment experiences of our time to Universal Studios Japan, marking the global expansion of this incredible phenomenon, and we are confident that guests will want to return again and again to fully experience all that this fantastic environment will have to offer,” said Michael Silver, President, Global Business Development, Universal Parks & Resorts.
In June 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort opened and became an instant, unprecedented hit. Since then, Warner Bros. and Universal Parks & Resorts announced that the themed area would be coming to Universal Studios Hollywood, and also that the Orlando location would be significantly expanded. No specific details on either of these plans have yet been announced.
This is a breaking story and we expect to have more on it shortly. Stay close to Leaky for the latest.
Many thanks to Jamie for the heads up!
Photo: Promotional art for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan.
Credit: Universal Studios Japan.