Deadline Hollywood is reporting an exclusive scoop -- Universal Studios has set a plan to build a Harry Potter theme park inside the grounds of Universal Studios Florida. According to Nikki Finke, this story dates all the way back to 2005, when it was reported that Disney was debating whether or not to create a Harry Potter theme park in Singapore. The company was apparently engaged in "protracted negotiations' with J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. to secure rights to the project. That plan morphed into the current one, with Universal stepping into the picture and going into negotiations with Warner Bros to build the Universal Studios facilities. According to Finke, the deal is now "set in principle, but terms are still being finalized." Which could mean anything, of course.
Finke also notes that until now, the closest thing to a Harry Potter theme park that's been built is the Alnwick Castle, location of Hogwarts School, so it's somewhat of an untested idea. To date, the Harry Potter books have sold more than 325 million copies and have been translated into over 60 languages. The fifth of seven Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is due for release this July, with the remaining two films coming soon. We recently brought you the news that negotiations with the three leads for the final films have been sewn up, after some dispute as to whether Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, would be returning to finish out the series. With plans for the film series finalized and the theme park plans supposedly afoot, it looks like J.K. Rowling won't have to get a day job anytime soon. Stay tuned to Cinematical for all the latest.