REVEALED: Incredible secrets of how JK Rowling controls Harry Potter brand by ‘holding meetings filled with screaming and crying’…as Warner Bros. says she’s as important as Clint Eastwood or Steven Spielberg

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Written By Maya Cantina

Meetings between Warner Brothers and JK Rowling can be filled with shouting and tears, it is claimed, with bosses at the entertainment giant branding the author their biggest asset.

The British author, who wrote all seven volumes of the famous wizard series that sold millions and inspired eight blockbuster films, wields an immense amount of control over the series’ future. She sold the rights to Warner Bros. early in her career – but with clauses that give her considerable sway over Harry Potter spin-offs. 

What Rowling calls ‘Ministry of Magic’ meetings with execs can became deeply emotional, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some have reportedly resulted in tears and a ‘screaming match’, according to the Journal. The paper did not say who got upset, or why. 

An alleged contract revealed by the Wall Street Journal is also said to state that her representatives can veto anything she doesn’t write about Harry Potter after she dies. 

Rowling is also said to have threatened to boycott Warner Bros. during tenser encounters with executives who consider her as crucially-important as entertainment icons Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. 

Zaslav – the controversial CEO of Warner Brothers – reportedly told Rowling at one of their meetings that she is a big part of his ambitions for the studio going forward, including a TV series on Max that could cost billions. 

Many aware of the talks compared them to the attempt to repair a marriage rather than a simple business relationship, with Zaslav saying she was as important to the future of Warner Brothers as Steven Spielberg or Clint Eastwood once were.

With Eastwood in his 90s and Spielberg having moved on from WB with his most recent films, Rowling is considered the last of the studio’s ‘A+ talent’ crew.

Warner Brothers boss David Zaslav set up meetings with Harry Potter creator JK Rowling in an attempt to get her on board with a future that the studio wants to heavily involve Hogwarts

He had heard from several executives that the company was on the outs with the author after she’d refused to take part in a reunion special for Max and didn’t pose for photos with the cast at the premiere of the most recent ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movie, which she’d written the scripts for.

Zaslav attempted to bond with Rowling – few in the WB universe had her ear prior to his takeover – by discussing their childhoods and families in London as he attempts to ‘breathe new life’ into her beloved book series, according to WSJ. 

On an earnings call held Friday, the executive said Max is aiming to debut the new show in the first quarter of 2026, Variety reported. 

The CEO confirmed on that call that he and a delegation of Warner execs had met with Rowling just weeks earlier. 

Rowling is known to be deeply protective of the franchise, notoriously holding biannual ‘Ministry of Magic’ meetings where she talks to executives – who spend weeks preparing ideas – about what the universe can and can’t do for the future. 

She was also granted veto over any ‘non-author written sequels’ to the series in film and TV that has likely slowed the upcoming series by several years. 

Rowling even amended the deal to place that veto power into a literary trust, so Warner Brothers wouldn’t even be allowed to do anything without her permission if she were to die. 

It doesn’t stop at books and films, however. She notoriously once demanded that real-life versions of the chocolate frogs made in the books, sold at Universal’s Harry Potter theme park, be sourced fair trade. 

The Harry Potter series has spawned seven books and a blockbuster film franchise starring Daniel Radcliffe

The Harry Potter series has spawned seven books and a blockbuster film franchise starring Daniel Radcliffe

Many aware of the talks compared them to the attempt to repair a marriage rather than a simple business relationship, with Zaslav saying Rowling and her creation were as important to the future of Warner Brothers as Steven Spielberg or Clint Eastwood once were

Many aware of the talks compared them to the attempt to repair a marriage rather than a simple business relationship, with Zaslav saying Rowling and her creation were as important to the future of Warner Brothers as Steven Spielberg or Clint Eastwood once were

Zaslav - the controversial CEO of Warner Brothers - reportedly told Rowling at one of their meetings that she is a big part of his ambitions for the studio going forward

Zaslav – the controversial CEO of Warner Brothers – reportedly told Rowling at one of their meetings that she is a big part of his ambitions for the studio going forward

Rowling, who wrote all seven volumes of the famous wizard series that sold millions and inspired eight blockbuster films, wields an immense amount of control over the series' future and meetings with her can became deeply emotional, with one reportedly ending in a 'screaming match'

Rowling, who wrote all seven volumes of the famous wizard series that sold millions and inspired eight blockbuster films, wields an immense amount of control over the series’ future and meetings with her can became deeply emotional, with one reportedly ending in a ‘screaming match’

In interviews during the film series’ early days, she’d even publicly told CBS her disdain for action figures, eventually a huge part of the studio’s sales strategy. 

At the beginning of the films, Rowling had signed a deal that had give WB much more control but by the 2010s, she’d negotiated a larger cut from merchandise sales to an ‘understanding’ that she and her associates get a say on who manages the franchise for the studio. 

In recent years, she had become much more distant from the studio, with the few who could access her referring to her as ‘Jo’ (Rowling was born Joanne Rowling). 

Rowling’s point person and one of her few remaining connections to Warners was Neil Blair, her primary business partner. He had helped write her first contract with the studio as one of WB’s lawyers.

The ‘Ministry of Magic’ meetings had started to happen less and less and Warner executives claimed she’d left them in the dark on what she thought of their ideas. 

Those who were in the meetings said that Rowling would go from ‘approachable and focused’ – those in the meeting say she never even looks down at her phone – to ‘combustible,’ with screaming matches, crying and Rowling threatening to boycott things. 

She would often relate to business things via her past, having written the books as a single mother and having alleged abuse at the hands of her first husband. 

The studio itself became uneasy about Rowling when fans began to protest her belief that that transgender women not automatically be given access to women’s bathrooms or compete in women’s sports. 

The original main trio of wizards from the Harry Potter film series have distanced themselves from Rowling

The original main trio of wizards from the Harry Potter film series have distanced themselves from Rowling 

Rowling with the cast of the second 'Fantastic Beasts' film. She reportedly refused to appear in photos with the cast at the premiere of the 2022 sequel

Rowling with the cast of the second ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film. She reportedly refused to appear in photos with the cast at the premiere of the 2022 sequel

In recent years, Rowling had become much more distant from the studio, with the few who could access her referring to her as 'Jo'

In recent years, Rowling had become much more distant from the studio, with the few who could access her referring to her as ‘Jo’

Those who were in the meetings said that Rowling would go from 'approachable and focused' - those in the meeting say she never even looks down at her phone - to 'combustible,' with screaming matches, crying and Rowling threatening to boycott things

Those who were in the meetings said that Rowling would go from ‘approachable and focused’ – those in the meeting say she never even looks down at her phone – to ‘combustible,’ with screaming matches, crying and Rowling threatening to boycott things

It also estranged her from some of the cast – with star Daniel Radcliffe publicly attempting to repudiate her – ahead of her decision to not take part in the 2022 reunion. 

However, those in charge at Warners put intense studies into the matter and found that her opinions – while perhaps changing their opinion on Rowling – could not stop the merchandising juggernaut that is Harry Potter. 

It made for perfect timing when Zaslav took over as CEO of WB in 2022 and made it a mandate to get Hogwarts onto a streaming service. 

‘Not, ‘What would you do if…’ ‘ chairman and CEO of the company’s HBO and Max content divisions Casey Bloys said of Zaslav’s attitude. ‘But, ‘We’re going to make this happen.’ ‘

Zaslav met with Rowling soon after and while he saw she was still angry with the studio, he still wanted to get her approval.

He rolled out the red carpet and blockbuster costs a TV series can handle in the streaming market, with just one season of this new series potentially budgeted at $250million. 

The strategy will be to use the new Max show to hook people into the older movies and the original books. 

Writers are now not merely pitching Warner and Max but Rowling herself on their ideas for the series.

Rowling's views on transgender people left her estranged from some of the cast - with star Daniel Radcliffe publicly attempting to repudiate her - ahead of her decision to not take part in the 2022 reunion

Rowling’s views on transgender people left her estranged from some of the cast – with star Daniel Radcliffe publicly attempting to repudiate her – ahead of her decision to not take part in the 2022 reunion

Zaslav rolled out the red carpet and blockbuster costs a TV series can handle in the streaming market for Rowling, with just one season of this new series potentially budgeted at $250million

Zaslav rolled out the red carpet and blockbuster costs a TV series can handle in the streaming market for Rowling, with just one season of this new series potentially budgeted at $250million 

A new Harry Potter-themed TV series is set for early 2026, according to Zaslav

A new Harry Potter-themed TV series is set for early 2026, according to Zaslav 

It's part of a continuing world of projects involving her wizards, which include theme parks across the world, a stage show on Broadway and the West End, stores in most major cities and video games, with one based on the fictional game of Quidditch in development

It’s part of a continuing world of projects involving her wizards, which include theme parks across the world, a stage show on Broadway and the West End, stores in most major cities and video games, with one based on the fictional game of Quidditch in development 

Rowling gave her nod of approval when the show was announced in April, saying: ‘Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me.’ 

It’s part of a continuing world of projects involving her wizards, which include theme parks across the world, a stage show on Broadway and the West End, stores in most major cities and video games, with one based on the fictional game of Quidditch in development. 

Blair said in a statement that they ‘pride ourselves on delivering best-in-class work for fans of the Harry Potter franchise globally.’ 

‘We hope under the new leadership at Warner Bros. Discovery that this will continue together, with the same care and excellence which the franchise has been synonymous with for over twenty-five years.’

Zaslav said of the meetings: ‘We spent some real time with J.K. and her team.’ 

He predicted a world where people continued to enjoy the wizarding world of Harry Potter for generations. 

‘Both sides are just thrilled to be reigniting this franchise. Our conversations were great, and we couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead. We can’t wait to share a decade of new stories with fans around the world on Max.’

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