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Case Title:

Will Harry Potter’s Magic Work for Universal Studios Theme Parks?

Publication Year : 2008

Authors: Kirti Nair, Bharathi S. Gopal

Industry: Leisure and Tourism


Case Code: IPD0093B

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Universal Parks and Resorts, a division of Universal Studios Inc., one of the leading American studios declared in May 2007 that it had obtained the rights for developing a theme park based on the extremely successful character of the popular culture Harry Potter in US, UK and all over the world. Walt Disney parks and resorts have also tried to get the rights for Harry Potter theme park but failed to strike a deal with the creator of the Harry Potter character, J.K. Rowling. Universal and Disney have been competing in the entertainment industry for many years, and Walt Disney had been a leader in theme parks. Though a tough competitor to Disney in large theme parks segment; emulating Disney’s strategies, Universal was facing decline in the number of attendants to its theme parks since 2004. With the announcement of a Harry Potter theme park planned to be ready by 2009, industry experts anticipated Universal to gain a momentum over Disney. It remains to be seen how Universal would leverage on the successful brand of Harry Potter to beat Disney in the theme park segment.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the strategies of Walt Disney company
  • To analyse how Disney used merchandising and cross-promotion to achieve success in theme parks
  • To discuss the competition between Universal and Disney
  • To analyse the huge success of the “Harry Potter” phenomenon
  • To discuss the challenges lying ahead for Universal that takes on the “Harry Potter” brand further
  • To debate the potential strategies to be used by Universal as against Disney’s.

Keywords : US Theme Parks Industry; Harry Potter; Universal Studios; Disney; Warner Brothers; Theme Parks; Innovation Management Case Study; Entertainment; Marketing; Brand Extensions; Movies and Books; J.K. Rowling; Entertainment; Brand Leverage, Brand Value, Competition


  • Disney: A Preeminent Player in Theme Parks
  • Universal Studios
  • Harry Potter – a Magical brand
  • Would Harry Potter Brand work for Theme Parks too?

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