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Where to find Fantastic Beasts? They're at NBCUniversal

August 8, 2016, 4:57 PM · Warner Bros. might produce the Harry Potter films, but NBCUniversal increasingly is becoming that franchise's public home, a perception that will become even more pronounced given today's agreement between the studios.

NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution announced today that NBC's networks will have cable and broadcast rights to all eight Harry Potter films, starting in 2018 and running for seven years. Warner-owned HBO will get first-run rights to the three Fantastic Beasts films, but after that run, the rights go to NBCUniversal for the remainder of the deal.

That means the Harry Potter films soon will disappear from Disney-owned Freeform and other ABC networks, which have owned the TV rights to the franchise up until now.

What does this have to do with theme parks? Universal long ago wrapped up the rights to develop attractions based upon J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, which now are welcoming millions of new guests to Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Japan. But today's deal also includes "a range of new opportunities including fan events, movie screenings and promotional activities tied to the 'Harry Potter' franchise and the upcoming 'Fantastic Beasts' film series," according to NBCUniversal's press release.

Universal Orlando has been offering its "Celebration of Harry Potter" fan event in January for the past two years. But the Potter fanbase's appetite so far appears nearly insatiable, giving Universal's theme parks plenty of opportunities to further develop their Wizarding World platforms to host special events that will keep the parks filled throughout the year. So let's hear the wish list. What fan events would you like to see Universal add to your nearest Wizarding World?

Perhaps not coincidentally, rumors have been flying around Universal Orlando that Islands of Adventure might be about to close its Boliger & Mabillard Inverted Dragon Challenge roller coasters at the end of the summer, in order to redevelop that space for a "Fantastic Beasts"-themed thrill ride. With Universal no longer dispatching the two coasters so that they can "duel," due to past incidents where riders' belongings flew off one train toward riders on the other, the ride simply hasn't enjoyed the popularity it did back in the day when it was the non-Potter-themed Dueling Dragons. Universal hasn't bothered replicating Dragon Challenge in either of its additional Hogsmeade lands (in Japan and Hollywood) to pretty much zero complaints, further illustrating the ride's lack of appeal to the Potter fan base.

Universal Orlando opened Hogsmeade in 2010 and Diagon Alley in 2014, so if you're into patterns, 2018 would be the target for the next Potter-themed attraction to open at the resort. And that just so happens to be the year that the second Fantastic Beast film hits theaters. Interesting....

Replies (17)

August 8, 2016 at 5:29 PM · I think that they should do a Hulk Style retrack, but with added safety features so they could duel again. Or get rid of it and add an ejector air RMC.
August 8, 2016 at 6:16 PM · The area is beautifully themed, but I would love to see some more rides. I think that a fun non-virtual ride would be great. Perhaps a ride through the Weasley store room.
August 8, 2016 at 7:04 PM · It should never have been "Dragon Challenge" in the first place.

One track should have been red, with red and gold trains, and the other track should have been green, with green and silver trains. If they can still do this, ensure all riders get rid of loose belongings (as they do near me at Chimelong Paradise), and perhaps add on-ride audio with some good HP music - it could work. But dragons are hardly a big part of Harry Potter lore. Dueling Houses would have worked so much better.

I love a good roller coaster, so I'd like to see it upgraded and for them to find a way to make it work. However, if they tear it down, I'd like to see a dark roller coaster like Mummy in its place. There's a lot they can do, and I trust them.

I'm still a little sad to think Universal will be down a roller coaster. Well, getting rid of Rip Ride Rock It wouldn't make me sad. But this one has potential.

August 8, 2016 at 7:10 PM · It should have stayed Dualing Dragons. The original cue was one of the best in the world, the HP overlay is somthing to be ashamed of.
August 8, 2016 at 7:40 PM · Coming off the train to the beautiful theming, only to see that red and blue steel there, it really just breaks the theming that the land is renonwned for. I wouldn't miss it
August 8, 2016 at 8:35 PM · It's a good coaster, but if they replace it with a new themed ride, that would be a step up. As long as it's not yet another screen-based simulator...
August 8, 2016 at 10:13 PM · Live the dueling dragons will always be that to me. Hate simulatorsdobt take away a great smooth coaster.
August 9, 2016 at 12:47 AM · I won't be sad to see the coasters go but to put Fantastic Beasts in there is a stretch story wise. With the train and it's station going to Hogwarts and the new movies being in another time and country it would make no sense. Sure they could make it their own land but it would still be located between the station and the village.
August 9, 2016 at 1:27 AM · If they are going to make a new fantastic beasts area, then they need to make a completely separate land, which has nothing to do with the other potter ones. This is because judging by the trailers for the film it doesn't look like it is going to directly tie in to the harry potter era, and it will be a new era, after all it is set in america, not london/hogwarts. They should really build a new land where fear factor is, or if not they should wait to have it In their third theme park, that way they could have fantastic beasts area, a Nintendo area and then other areas.
August 9, 2016 at 4:55 AM · Wild prediction, but I could see them doing the whole area as a magical animal zoo. Where you go in to see the creatures of the Harry Potter universe (as seen in the Fantastic Beasts movies), board a safari type ride, pass by wonderfully detailed animatronics of the animals, some cool special effects, something-goes-terribly-wrong, yadda yadda yadda, and you exit through an extremely well themed store, that happens to sell plush versions of the animals that just attacked you.
August 9, 2016 at 7:16 AM · The coaster count in Orlando is woefully inadequate. Dumping Dragon Challenge would further decimate that count. Ignoring the fact that I have little interest in Fantastic Beasts or anything else Rowling has done with/to Potter since I finished book seven nearly a decade ago, I like Gabriel's idea to retheme and enhance the existing coaster attraction which would keep a legitimate, big-boy ride in the Potterverse for the Coaster Boys and Girls visiting IOA. While I love narrative attractions and all the wonderful theming Universal has added to their parks, the thrill seeker in me will not be pleased if basically two coasters are replaced with yet another Rowling based screen attraction, a restaurant, and more shops.
August 9, 2016 at 7:35 AM · It would make sense that with the new region purchased in the Orlando area that Fantastic Beasts could potentially headline that park. I'm not sure the time frame would match the every four years that you outlined. However, it would stay in line with them opening a new region of Harry Potter at a "different" park so that you have to buy admission to ALL of the parks.

Food for thought!

August 9, 2016 at 7:38 AM · I recommend they remove Dueling Dragons and save the rides for the third park. Keep it in good condition. When they decide to install it, separate them so they don't run parallel. They can go in different directions instead of side-by-side.

A third major Harry Potter ride themed to Fantastic Beasts sounds terrific.

August 9, 2016 at 9:54 AM · If people wear vr googles they can't get hit in the eyes by stuff when they are dueling. They could make it a game or have dragons fly by.

The coasters help balance the park. I would be mad if they took out two thrill rides for a family one based on something that has not even came out yet.

I want the Jurassic park flying coaster if they take dragons out. Seems like bad timing as Game of Thrones is so hot right now

August 9, 2016 at 1:56 PM · Dragon Challenge could obviously be restore to its full potential if they would let the trains duel again. Of course, I realize this is mostly wishful thinking. No matter how often people are told to remove all loose items, some still won't do so. In any case, if the ride is removed, I would hope to see it replaced by another coaster. As James said, there are far too few of them in Orlando and as much as I love what Universal has done with rides like Spider-Man and Forbidden Journey, I'd still like to see one or two more of the steel giants pop up at their parks. Better that than more retail space, right?
August 9, 2016 at 5:23 PM · There is still a lot of HP potential for Universal Studios to work with. I, for one, have been pining for a recreation of the Battle of Hogwarts. I don't want this to happen via another screen, I don't care whether it's a coaster or not, Fantastic Beasts doesn't seem to work for continuity's sake.
August 10, 2016 at 9:07 AM · Save any major Fantastic Beasts attractions for a third gate and build from scratch.

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