Harry Potter is taking his act to Japan as Warner Bros. and Universal team to bring the “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” to the Universal Studios in Osaka.
Glenn Gumpel, president and CEO of Universal Studios Japan, will make the announcement on Thursday alongside Brad Globe, President of Consumer Products at Warner Bros., and Michael Silver, President of Global Business Development for Universal Parks & Resorts.
James and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley in the Potter Films, will be the guests of honor.
“Universal Studios Japan is thrilled to be chosen to make the Harry Potter experience come alive for the people of Japan,” Gumpel said in a statement. “USJ will recreate to the highest level of authenticity, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.’”
The theme park attraction has boosted attendance and revenue at Universal Studios Orlando, where it debuted in June of 2010.
Since then, Warner Bros. turned the movie franchise’s set just outside London into a tourist destination, and Universal announced plans to bring a “Wizarding World” to its Los Angeles theme park.
Universal Studios Japan should begin construction on its version of the attraction in the next few weeks with a target launch date of late 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times.
That’s before the Los Angeles version will debut — a result of limited space at the Universal City location.
Japan's “Wizarding World” will include a reconstruction of Hogwarts, the school of “witchcraft and wizardry,” as well as Hogsmeade, rides and themed food.
The Potter franchise has finished its theatrical run for Warner Bros., which is seizing on the opportunity to turn its global popularity into revenue for its theme parks and consumer products divisions.
"'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," Silver said in a statement.
Theme parks have become a financial building block for many studios, and just yesterday Disney reported that it generated more profit from its parks than its film studio.
The Potter franchise has been hugely popular in Japan, grossing $893 million at the box office and reaching more than 78 million people.