Attractions industry news

30 Mar 2021

Warner Bros will tap into Japan's 'intense fandom' when Harry Potter tour opens in 2023

In August 2020, Warner Bros announced plans to open a Harry Potter Studio Tour in Japan – the second such attraction following the hugely popular studio experience in London, UK.

Due to open in 2023, The Studio Tour Tokyo will occupy a 300,000sq ft space at the grounds of the former Toshimaen Amusement Park in Nerima-Ku, Tokyo and will feature – just like its London counterpart – authentic recreations of films sets from the Harry Potter films, including the Great Hall at Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest and Diagon Alley.

Speaking exclusively to Attractions Management in the latest issue (1/2021), Sarah Roots, executive vice president, Warner Bros Studio Tours & Retail, said the attraction will look to tap into the huge passion for the movie franchise which exists in the country.

“The intense Harry Potter fandom of Japan and the location of Tokyo with such a high population of people who love to engage with IP and have days out made it a really strong place for us to go,” Roots said.

“We’ll take the essence of the Studio Tour London and build on it using lessons we’ve learned to create something even more amazing in Japan."

Roots added that while the Tokyo Studio Tour will keep the essence of the London Tour, there will be several differences.

While the London Tour at Leavesden Studios – where all eight of the Harry Potter films were made – features original sets, props and costumes from the movies, in Japan, the sets will be "authentic replicas" of the originals.

"This allows a bit more freedom when designing the attraction," Roots said.

“All of the favourites will be there – The Great Hall, Dumbledore’s Office, the Forbidden Forest – but we have the option of making changes to them.

"We have the benefit of a brand new building in Japan and it’s bigger, so we’ll be able to make an enhanced Forbidden Forest, for example."

In addition, the Tokyo tour will include features tailored for the Japanese market.

“The Japanese love photo ops, interactives and getting involved, and we’ll be adding a lot of interactivity and engagement into that tour,” Roots said.

"The Japanese tour will also benefit from the lessons learned at Leavesden, with some tweaks made in terms of the order and spacing of the attractions and the F&B offer."

• To read the full interview with Sarah Roots in the latest issue of Attractions Management, click here.

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