Warner Bros. announced today that it will open "the world’s first official Harry Potter flagship store" in New York City this summer.
The three-story, 20,000-square-foot themed merchandise location will open at 935 Broadway, just south of the Flatiron Building.
"Opening in Summer 2020, the store will house the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in the world under one roof with everything from personalised robes and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans to a brand-new range of house wands with a design exclusive to the New York location," Warner Bros. said in its press release announcing the new store.
Warner Bros. operates Harry Potter stores at its studio tour locations in Hollywood and the United Kingdom, where the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London in Leavesden is devoted to "The Making of Harry Potter." But most theme park fans probably know the Wizarding World merchandise line-up from the Potter-themed lands at Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando, Hollywood, and Osaka, Japan.
For the uninitiated, New York is the primary location for the first Fantastic Beasts film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which follows Newt Scamander to the city.
"We are very excited to be opening in New York. It’s the ideal city in which to launch with so many dedicated Wizarding World fans, a cutting-edge retail environment and a community that embraces innovative experiences," Sarah Roots, Senior Vice President Worldwide Tours and Retail for Warner Bros. said.
"This will be the largest dedicated Harry Potter store in the world and will become a must-visit fan destination where Harry Potter enthusiasts can engage with interactive experiences and numerous photo opportunities as they step into the magic."Tweet
And what does this news have to do with theme parks?
It's themed entertainment, and given the buzz the post is getting on social media, of great interest to many theme park fans.
One of the huge questions in this business right now is... where is Warner Bros.? Are they going deeper into theme parks or will they continue just to license its IP? The studio is enjoying some success with its two tours and knocked it out of the park creatively in the UAE. That Six Flags license deal is up in the next few years, so what will happen with that? Is WB's effort to create more branded locations in the US a sign that it is getting ready to do even more in themed entertainment?
Lots of questions raised by this.
Apparently they are going deeper in retail. But do carry on.
This would’ve made a lot of sense 10 years ago, but overall interest in Harry Potter is fading. If this were to work long term, they probably need to make it a Warner Bros. store, not just a Harry Potter store. As for theme parks, Disney and Universal are decades ahead of WB, and WB’s biggest IP is Harry Potter, which won’t be leaving Universal anytime soon. Their best bet would be to continue licensing, but they probably could find a better company than Six Flags.
Remember Time Warner bought Six Flags back in the early 90s and it didn't take long for them to leave the industry realizing it wasn't as easy as they thought. I know times change and there have been rumors of them coming back but there's nowhere for them to build a park now, the market is saturated, and their IP is licensed all over the place. So unless they decide to buy Six Flags again the chances of them getting back in the business are practically practically zilch.
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This store would have made far more sense closer to the Lyric, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing. Pretty much any retail concept can succeed for a short span in NYC, but I wonder if a store this size can succeed in this particular location. That's a lot of expensive square-footage for mostly niche offerings.