Theme-park destination based on the bespectacled wizard could create 1,000 jobs
Harry Potter is going Hollywood.
"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," the theme park attraction that has become a huge source of profits for the Universal Orlando Resort, will become a staple of the studio's West Coast park.
At a press conference Tuesday, the studio said it will spend several hundred million dollars to bring the boy magician west.
Universal Studios President and COO Ron Meyer, California Governor Jerry Brown and Warner Bros. president of home entertainment Kevin Tsujihara were among those raising a glass of Butterbeer at the announcement.
The attraction is expected to create as many as 1,000 jobs, but could take as long as three years to construct. The original Potter ride was announced in 2007, but didn't open until 2010.
Studio officials did not immediately reveal if all of the rides and features from the Florida park will make the journey westward or if the Los Angeles branch will sport new Hogwarts inspired attractions.
It's easy to see why Universal is so eager to expand. Thanks in no small part to Potter, Universal's theme-park revenue jumped 33 percent from a year ago to $1.49 billion through the first nine months of 2011.
As TheWrap reported exclusively last spring, Comcast paid over $1 billion to buy Blackstone Group’s 50 percent stake to become the full owner of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.
The move will also ratchet up the competition with Walt Disney's theme parks. Universal Studio's major rival announced last fall that it will build "Avatar" themed attractions at its properties, with construction beginning in 2013.
Even though Potter's big screen adventures have wrapped up, there's still likely enough magic left in the franchise to compete with James Cameron's blue-skinned aliens.
After all, the final film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," grossed $1.3 billion worldwide after debuting in theaters last summer.