The Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2004
A Potter of Gold for Those Who Think Big
By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin
Warner Bros. will once again go into
overdrive this week to promote Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azkaban, its newest big-
screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling's mind-
bendingly popular children's books. As
always, publishers, TV programmers and
entrepreneurs across the country will try to
co-opt the Potter craze, hoping to siphon off
riches of their own.
Which media outlet will come up with the most
lucrative way to latch on to Pottermania? Let
the games begin:
Monday: After four hours of strategizing ways to participate in the Potter rage,
executives at ABC-TV/Disney/Miramax are shocked to discover they do not own the
rights to the Potter books and never will. Undaunted, the company immediately re-
releases three dozen classic films under new titles (e.g., Dirty Harry Potter, Harry
Potter and Tonto, When Harry Potter Met Sally, etc.). "This is what we do best,"
explains a company spokesman. "Who needs Harry Potter when you have Harvey
Tuesday: Pugnacious talk-show host Sean Hannity debates the hot- button issues
underlying the Potter trend with columnists E.J. Dionne and Ann Coulter. As Dionne
defends Potter's right to a gay marriage—this despite the boy's British citizenship
and the fact that he's not homosexual—Coulter challenges the accuracy of the
books' depiction of magic and sorcery. "This movie isn't about real witchcraft,"
barks Coulter. "Trust me. I know a thing or two about witches."
Wednesday: Keeping with tradition, Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner contacts
Rowling, offering her $1 million to appear in his magazine naked, posed atop a
broomstick. When Rowling refuses, an unbowed Hefner announces that Playboy will
publish a nude pictorial of Joni Lovewell, a Borders employee from Dubuque who
"once sold 15 Harry Potter books in one day" and enjoys long walks on the beach.
Thursday: The Cartoon Network announces it will produce an animated version of
a classic '70s sitcom, now adapted to the Rowling oeuvre. Welcome Back, Potter
transports the old gang from the blacktops of James Buchanan High School to the
campus of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the beloved
"Sweathog-warts" engage in hilarious hexes and high jinks. Original cast member
John Travolta agrees to lend his voice to the series, provided that Hogwarts
supplements its courses with seminars in Scientology.
Friday: In a stroke of marketing genius, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos acquires
worldwide rights to the popular line of Chia Pet products and begins selling them
online under a new name: Hairy Pottery.