Warner Bros.’ iconic Wizarding World/Harry Potter franchise will now be overseen by Tom Ascheim, alongside his current responsibilities as President, Warner Bros. Kids, Young Adults and Classics. This announcement was made today by Ann Sarnoff, Chair, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, to whom Ascheim reports.
“In Harry Potter and the Wizarding World, we have an iconic franchise and characters that have become a beloved part of the lives of millions around the world,” said Sarnoff. “This new management of the franchise highlights its enormous importance to Warner Bros. and the myriad opportunities we see for continuing to engage and delight fans of all ages across the globe. I’m excited for Tom to be leading our efforts and look to him and his team to work across the company to discover innovative and creative ways of keeping the Wizarding World fresh and relevant for years to come.”
As part of his new responsibilities, Ascheim serves as the senior representative of WarnerMedia in its relationship with J.K. Rowling and her representatives, agent Neil Blair with Chief Creative Officer, James McKnight at The Blair Partnership, to advance the company’s objectives and priorities for the Wizarding World/Harry Potter franchise across emerging opportunities and existing businesses. Ascheim will also look to enhance the content universe related to the Wizarding World property for the Studio’s various outlets and platform partners.
“I’ve been an avid Harry Potter fan for years and an admiring observer of how the Wizarding World franchise has been managed,” said Ascheim. “I’m honored to now be leading the very talented individuals and teams who have done such a great job in growing this brand and its meaning and value to fans everywhere. I look forward to going even further in exploring and expanding all of the opportunities we have in this incredible world.”
In managing the WW/HP global franchise, Ascheim will work closely with Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences, led by Pam Lifford, who serves as the division’s president. GBE will continue its work on developing and executing the experiential components of the franchise, which includes working with third-party partners to create theme park attractions, live events and experiences, licensing and consumer products. The ongoing Fantastic Beasts film franchise will continue to be managed by Warner Bros. Pictures Group; franchise-based videogames will continue to be handled by Warner Bros. Games; and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter and its upcoming sister park in Tokyo will continue to be managed by Worldwide Studio Operations.
This new management structure will build on the work of the previous Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team, which formulated and executed a high-level strategic vision for the brand and its ancillary businesses. HPGFD was founded in 2014 and was previously overseen by Josh Berger, who stepped down from his executive responsibilities late last year. The members of the HPGFD team will now become part of the Global Brands and Experiences team.
The Wizarding World franchise represents a vast, interconnected world touching all aspects of fans’ lives. From J.K. Rowling’s seven beloved novels, Warner Bros. Pictures produced eight timeless Harry Potter films ($7.7 billion in global box office and No. 1 global franchise across total home entertainment life-to-date) and has also released the first two of five planned Fantastic Beasts films, with the third currently in production at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the original and record-breaking stage production and eighth story created by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany and produced by Colin Callender and Sonia Friedman.
Fans can step into the Wizarding World for themselves at three theme parks on two continents (Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences partnering with Universal Studios Hollywood, Orlando and Osaka, and upcoming park in Beijing), discover the magic of filmmaking at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter (with Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo scheduled to open in 2023), and gaze at unique Wizarding World artifacts at the widely acclaimed globe-traveling attraction Harry Potter: The Exhibition. The Portkey Games label is responsible for state-of-the-art videogames, while digital news and publishing platform Wizarding World Digital presents a brand-new way to keep up with all the latest news and events. The Wizarding World also engages fans through innovative consumer products and retail experiences designed to spark fans’ creativity and ignite the imagination. From inspired toys to beautifully designed home décor, best-in-class partners from all around the world are bringing the magic to life. And, the Platform 9 ¾ Shop (Kings Cross, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports) and Harry Potter New York (opening 2021) offer unique, immersive retail/entertainment experiences.
WarnerMedia’s Studios and Network Group unites all of the company’s content-focused teams, including the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, HBO and HBO Max, the Warner Bros. Television Group, DC, kids/young adults/classics (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, TCM, Cartoon Network Studios, WB Animation), TBS, TNT, TruTV, Wizarding World, consumer products and gaming, to work together across titles, brands and franchises. The Studios and Networks Group represents an unmatched collection of world-class brands and content creators.