Some of the company’s major franchises have been dormant for “more than a decade”.
Warner Bros. Discovery head David Zaslav thinks that the studio’s major franchises, including Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, are not being utilized to their full potential.
Zaslav reviewed the Warner Bros. IP collection at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology Conference, according to The Wrap. The studio head argues that their flagship properties, despite being the company’s backbone, are underutilized. “One of the other real strengths of Warner Bros. is we talk about the great IP that Warner Bros. owns. But, for us, the challenge is that our content, our great IP — Harry Potter, DC, Lord of the Rings — that content has been underused,” he explains. “We haven’t done anything with Harry Potter for more than a decade. We haven’t done anything with Lord of the Rings.”
Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings will join the DC brand as IPs that Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery will emphasize over the coming decade, “We think there’s a lot of shareholder value in attaching a 10-year DC — a real plan around DC, bringing Harry Potter back to HBO for ten consecutive years, doing multiple movies of Lord of the Rings,” WB’s CEO revealed, arguing that the studio’s performance over the last two decades was pretty flat when their three largest brands were excluded.
Although the DC, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings properties were “big differentiators for the company,” Zaslav admitted that the studio had to be careful not to overuse the content. Zaslav, on the other hand, is adamant that their main IPs are the key to the studio’s long-term success, “When you put those franchises in, it’s the best performing studio in the world,” he stated. “We need to deploy our best capital, and we need to do it with the best creative people in the world.”
While the DCU is gaining a new look with movies, TV shows, and videogames, Harry Potter is being adapted into a new series for Max. In terms of The Lord of the Rings, the animated film The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim was recently pushed back to December 2024, but it will be just one of several projects related to J.R.R. Tolkien’s world that Warner Bros. Pictures is preparing, as Zaslav has already hinted.