Warner Bros. crackdown puts Dark Mark over Potter festivals
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Warner Bros. is cracking down on local Harry Potter fan festivals around the country, saying it's necessary to halt unauthorized commercial activity. Fans, however, liken the move to Death Eaters sucking the joy out of homegrown fun, while festival directors say they'll transmogrify the events into generic celebrations of magic.
"It's almost as if Warner Bros. has been taken over by Voldemort, trying to use dark magic to destroy the light of a little town," said Sarah Jo Tucker, a 21-year-old junior at Chestnut Hill College, which hosts a Quidditch tournament that coincides with the annual suburban Philadelphia festival.
Philip Dawson, Chestnut Hill's business district director, said Warner Bros. reached out to his group in May, letting them know new guidelines prohibit festivals' use of any names, places or objects from the series. That ruled out everything from meet-and-greet with Dumbledore and Harry to Defense Against the Dark Arts classes.
"It was very quickly apparent weren't going to be able to hold festival like years past," he said. The late October festival drew about 45,000 fans last year to the historic neighborhood's cobblestone streets. This year, they will instead have a "wands and wizards" family night and pub crawl and other magic-themed events — and people can still dress as their favorite characters.
"We want to make the best of it," he said.