Is Warner Bros. misreading the appetite for a ‘Harry Potter’ TV series?

Will a series based on the books bring anything new to the franchise? PLUS: ‘Dune: Part Two’ is a masterpiece, new ‘Bluey’ episodes are on their way, and a first look at ‘Tron: Ares.’

Is Warner Bros. misreading the appetite for a ‘Harry Potter’ TV series?
Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows. / Warner Bros.

It’s here! Dune weekend. (And a new edition of Popculturology.)

I didn’t think I was going to make it to Dune: Part Two on Thursday, but the timing worked out so I was able to catch a 9:45 showing. (Yes, I’m writing this update to the newsletter at almost 1:30 in the morning.)

Holy crap.

Dune: Part Two is stunning. From start to finish, a masterpiece.

Denis Villeneuve somehow knew what to condense, what to cut and what to remix to turn the second half of the book into a powerhouse of a film. The battles, the special effects, the score — all perfectly in sync. The 2024 Oscars are still a week away, but there are going to be several nominations coming Dune: Part Two’s way in 2025. (A Best Actor nod for Timothée Chalamet?)

If you have a chance, see this movie this weekend. See it in IMAX. You might even catch me seeing it a second time. Just don’t be like the person next to me who decided it was time to play on their phone during Dune: Part Two’s climactic fight scene.

It’s wild that Dune: Part Two became a pop culture moment like this. The book was published in 1965 and went so long without a proper cinematic adaptation that countless other franchises built their successes on ripping off Frank Herbert’s work. (I love you, Star Wars, but you know what you did.) The Ringer’s A.A. Dowd broke down how the second Dune movie became an event.

Before we get to the rest of the newsletter, is anyone interested in my pitch for a Margin Call sequel focused on Wendy’s dynamic pricing?

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Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. / Warner Bros.

What's the point of a Harry Potter TV show?

Warner Bros. hopes the world still loves Harry Potter. More specifically, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav hopes the world still loves Harry Potter.

Since taking over WB, Zaslav has repeatedly highlighted the Harry Potter series as one of the studio’s tentpole franchises, eagerly hoping to find new ways to capitalize on it. On several occasions, Zaslav has even mentioned how it’s been over a decade since the studio released a new Harry Potter movie — weirdly ignoring the three Fantastic Beasts movies that were released from 2016 to 2022.

As part of this push for new Harry Potter content, Zaslav has had to reach out to controversial creator JK Rowling. A new piece from The Wall Street Journal dug into just how big of a push that’s actually been.