BURBANK, Calif. -- Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products has signed the much-coveted licensing agreement for the literary phenomenon HARRY POTTER with Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT), making Mattel the worldwide master toy licensee for the literary characters as well as for the upcoming feature films from Warner Bros. Pictures.
The J.K. Rowling HARRY POTTER book series have been published in 115 countries and in 28 languages with more than 18.4 million books in circulation in the U.S. alone. The HARRY POTTER books have rocketed up and stayed atop national best seller lists such as the New York Times and USA Today. A global literary phenomenon, the "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" book is currently being developed as a theatrical film for Warner Bros. Pictures.
"HARRY POTTER has cast a spell over kids of all ages, and we have been very strategic in choosing our master toy licensing partner," said Dan Romanelli, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. "We believe that Mattel's vision and commitment to the property will push the envelope, with both technology and innovation, outside the realm of a traditional toy line."
"All of Mattel is inspired by J.K. Rowling's rich, magical world of Harry Potter and we're thrilled about the relationship," said Adrienne Fontanella, President of Mattel's Girls Products division.
"As the premier brand builders, we are dedicated to ensuring that everything we create, from dolls and games to high-tech toys, will bring the characters to life in amazing new ways. As partners with the Warner Bros. team, we are committed to developing a property that will entertain kids and adults for generations to come," said Matt Bousquette, President of Mattel's Boys and Entertainment division.
Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products gained all worldwide licensing and merchandising rights for the enormously successful HARRY POTTER children's book series as part of an overall deal when Warner Bros. Pictures signed with author J.K. Rowling. The deal includes development of two films based on the first two books of the series -- "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." Mattel's worldwide toy licensing agreement involves the first two HARRY POTTER books and theatrical films.
"The launch of HARRY POTTER products will be a worldwide effort. Our intent is to judiciously roll out the product and not flood the market," said Romanelli. "We're looking to support the literary and film property as a long term franchise. Strategies and timing will be determined on a market-by-market basis. In the U.S. and U.K. (where the series first gained its loyal following), the product launch will be concurrent."
George Jones, President of Warner Bros. Worldwide Licensing and Warner Bros. Studio Stores added, "Our worldwide retail strategy for Harry Potter merchandise is being carefully controlled and limited. The first available HARRY POTTER licensedproducts, based upon the book property, will debut at our own Warner Bros. Studio Stores this Fall and will be followed by selective product placement in department, specialty, gift and book stores for the Holiday season. The second phase of product will debut in conjunction with the theatrical film release in 2001."
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a division of Warner Bros., a Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P., is one of the leading and most diversified licensing and retail merchandising organizations which includes a vast library of intellectual properties and the Warner Bros. Studio Stores, including wbstore.com, our e-commerce website. With over 3,700 licensees, Warner Bros. Consumer Products licenses the rights to names, likenesses and logos for a variety of entertainment properties, categories, and Warner Bros. name icons that include Looney Tunes, Batman, Superman, Scooby-Doo, The Wizard of Oz, Friends, ER, and its newest member, Harry Potter.
Mattel, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of family products. With headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel has offices and facilities in 36countries and sells its products in more than 150 nations around the world.
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