Harry Potter Theme Park in the offing

MUMBAI: Universal Studios Florida is close to putting the final touches on a deal to set up a “Harry Potter World” on an unused portion of Orlando amusement park, according to Sheeraz Hasan Founder of www.Hollywood.tv.

As early as 2005, Walt Disney Co. reportedly wanted to create a Harry Potter theme park in Singapore with rides based on the Harry Potter stories. At that time, the company was said to be in negotiations with J.K Rowling and Warner’s to acquire theme park rights, but the project never came to fruition.

Now it turns out that Universal is negotiating with Warner, and while they both agree to the idea of a Harry Potter theme park in principle, the terms of the deal are still being hammered out.

When asked last February by the Orlando Sentinel if a Harry Potter attraction was in the works, Universal Orlando Resort president Bill Davis replied, “Boy, I think that would be great. I can’t talk about what we’re going to be bringing to either one of our parks in the future. That’s a forward-looking thing we can’t discuss. I will tell you we’re working hard to bring innovative, new technologically-advanced attractions to both of our parks.”

The six Potter books published to date have collectively sold more than 325 million copies and have been translated into more than 63 languages. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final installment of the seven volume series, is set to hit the book store shelves on 21 July, 2007. Warner Bros turned the first four books into highly popular films that earned an estimated $4 billion in total worldwide ticket sales.

The fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, will be seen on the theater screens beginning 13 July, 2007. The books and movies together have generated all sorts of video games and merchandise but never the idea of a theme park.