A leading streaming platform is hoping to have a little magic up its sleeve to start 2022 with a cast reunion announced this week.
What Happened: To celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie release, the stars of the film and Harry Potter franchise will reunite in a television special.
“Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” will premiere exclusively on HBO Max, a unit of AT&T Inc T on Jan. 1, 2022. Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint will star in the reunion along with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” director Chris Columbus and other franchise cast members.
The reunion is set to “tell an enchanting making-of-story through all-new in-depth interviews and cast conversations,” according to HBO Max.
Cast members who will appear as part of the reunion include Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Tom Felton, Imelda Staunton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Matthew Lewis, Alfred Enoch, Evanna Lynch and Ian Hart.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has not been confirmed as a guest. The author has faced a backlash from several cast members and fans after she made anti-trans comments.
In the spring of 2022, the reunion special will also air on TBS and Cartoon Network, two channels also owned by AT&T unit WarnerMedia. The release on the cable channels will coincide with the April 15, 2022, theatrical release of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.”
A first look of the reunion special will debut during the airing of “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses” on Nov. 28 on TBS and Cartoon Network. The four-part event has fans competing against others for the Tournament of Houses championship trophy.
Related Link: A Ranking Of All The Harry Potter Movies By Box Office
Why It’s Important: HBO Max has the rights to stream all eight of the original Harry Potter films. The eight movies in the franchise were all massive box office hits, ranging in global box office totals of $795 million to $1.34 billion.
A planned trilogy prequel of the Fantastic Beasts series will now be turned into five films. The first two movies in the franchise globally grossed $814 million and $655 million, respectively. The new reunion special could help create some buzz for the upcoming third movie in the franchise.
There have been rumors for years of the original three Harry Potter stars returning to do sequels of some sort and that likely could be a hot topic during the reunion special.
HBO Max landed the reunion of another popular franchise when it aired “Friends: The Reunion Special” exclusively on the streaming platform on May 27. The highly anticipated reunion generated a ton of media attention and even created some fun prop bets on what would happen at the event.
As streaming companies compete against each other for original content that can’t be found anywhere else, gaining the rights to huge franchises and loyal fan bases could be one approach. HBO Max will be the home of the reunion and the Harry Potter movies.
AT&T reported 69.4 million subscribers for HBO Max in the third quarter, up 12.5 million year-over-year. Domestic HBO Max subscribers stood at 45.2 million at the end of the third quarter. Direct-to-consumer subscriber revenue was up 25% year-over-year for AT&T in the third quarter.
The company is guiding for HBO Max subscribers to hit a range of 70 million to 73 million by the end of 2021. That goal could be helped greatly by the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
T Price Action: AT&T shares trade at $24.61 at the time of writing and are down 14% year-to-date.
Photo: A scene from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the last entry to date in the popular film franchise. Courtesy WarnerMedia.
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