According to the Associated Press, the Chestnut Hill community in Philadelphia was contacted in May with new guidelines that outlined aspects of the series often used in the festival that were now prohibited by Warner Bros. Names, places, and objects can no longer be used.
Chestnut Hill College junior Sarah Jo Tucker told the AP “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.” The college hosts a Quiddich tournament at the same time as the annual local festival. Chestnut Hill business district director Philip Dawson said this year’s event would instead be a Wands & Wizards event with a family night, pub crawl, and magic-themed events.
Other events that were contacted by the company include the Wizarding Weekend in Ithaca which will still try to provide a magical experience according to festival director Darlynne Overbaugh. Overbaugh told the AP she “understands the company’s need to protect the franchise, but she felt like her festival was helping to build it.”
“I have a lot of disappointed people because there are certain aspects of festival I’m no longer able to do,” she said.
Fans compared the company to Dementors and the Dursleys in their disappointment with its actions, even tweeting at creator J.K. Rowling about the news. The AP reached out to Rowling, but a spokeswoman said she had no comment.
This is not the first time the company has cracked down on Harry Potter-themed places and their response made it clear why they were taking these steps.
“Warner Bros. is always pleased to learn of the enthusiasm of Harry Potter fans, but we are concerned, and do object, when fan gatherings become a vehicle for unauthorized commercial activity,” Warner Bros. told the AP.
There may be less Harry Potter specific fun in communities this year, but at least it looks like the magic will continue—just in a new form.
(via Associated Press)