No, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) does not own any rights to Harry Potter streaming or theme park usage.
The rights to Harry Potter distribution were purchased by NBC Universal (owned by the Comcast Corporation – Universal is not owned by Disney, either). Warner Brothers (which sold the distribution rights) and JK Rowling still hold rights to the trademark.
If you’re curious about this, you may also find Disney’s history with Harry Potter interesting.
Did Disney Try to Buy the Rights to Harry Potter from JK Rowling & Warner Brothers?
According to multiple sources including Disney historian Jim Hill (shared on his podcast):
- Bids were submitted by both Universal Studios and Disney around 2004 for the theme park rights to Harry Potter.
- Disney won the bid and began discussions with Rowling and Warner Brothers.
- Disney and Rowling’s vision didn’t match. Rowling wanted more creative control, and Disney was envisioning a much smaller implementation of the Harry Potter world than what Universal ultimately implemented.
Universal theme parks are doing pretty well:
Comcast Q2 earnings out. Some theme park takeaways:
– Parks revenue increased 65% to $1.8 billion
– Comcast says growth due to higher attendance
& increased guest spending at parks in U.S., Japan
– Universal Orlando generated its highest adjusted EBITDA on record for any qtr pic.twitter.com/L9mg8P4Qu3
— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) July 28, 2022
Largely on the back of Harry Potter World as an anchor. It seems like Disney learned their lesson here with the way they subsequently built out Pandora and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney / Harry Potter Frequently Asked Questions
Does Disney own Harry Potter now?
No, Disney doesn’t own any Harry Potter rights across streaming, theme parks, or merchandising.
Who owns the Harry Potter rights?
NBC Universal owns streaming and theme park rights to Harry Potter, and JK Rowling and Warner Brothers retain copy rights.
Which Disney park has Harry Potter?
No Disney Park has any Harry Potter theming or merchandise – Harry Potter World is at Universal Studios.