Harry Potter attraction coming to Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios is planning to build a replica of its successful Florida Harry Potter theme park in Los Angeles, said people familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly.
A contract between Comcast Corp.-owned Universal and Warner Bros., which made the "Harry Potter" movies and controls licensing rights to author J.K. Rowling's books about the boy wizard, is being finalized and should be done within the next few weeks, the people said.
The new attraction is expected to open at Universal Studios Hollywood no earlier than 2015.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando has drawn more than 7 million people and was a primary driver in a 36% boost in attendance at the theme park in the first three months of 2011.
Families have flocked to the park to go on Potter-themed rides, like the Flight of the Hippogriff, visit replicas of Potter locations like the Three Broomsticks Inn, and even drink a re-creation of the story's famous butterbeer.
Universal was not the only entertainment company seeking to replicate The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Southern California. Walt Disney Co. also held discussions with Warner to secure the rights for Disneyland in Anaheim. Recently, Disney signed a partnership to create attractions based on 20th Century Fox's "Avatar," the first of which will begin construction in Orlando in 2013.
A remaining question is where the Potter rides and shops would be placed at the land-strapped Universal Hollywood. In order to make room, the park would likely have to remove or retrofit existing rides.
News of the deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
— Ben Fritz
Times staff writer Brady MacDonald contributed to this report.
Photo: Fans snapping pictures of the cast of the "Harry Potter" movies at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Credit: Scott Audette / Reuters.