Warner Bros. has confirmed plans to open a behind-the-scenes Harry Potter tour on the site of its Leavesden Studios in the UK, where all of the popular movies have been produced.
The Making of Harry Potter experience will offer fans of the wizard the chance to view sets, costumes, props and animatronic characters that have been featured in the eight Harry Potter films. The tour is expected to last around 3 hours, and is due to open to the public in spring 2012.
Contrary to a recent report in The Mirror newspaper, the attraction will not be a full-blown theme park in the style of Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Instead, it will focus on giving visitors an opportunity to explore the actual sets that were used during the creation of the movies. These will include the Great Hall at Hogwarts School and headmaster Dumbledore's office.
Warner Bros. spent £100 million on acquiring the Leavesden Studios in November 2010, and plans to make it the company's main UK base. Two new sound stages will be built to house the Harry Potter tour, and 300 new jobs are expected to be created as a result.
London mayor Boris Johnson had previously lamented the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the US, claiming that the UK should have been first to open a Potter-based attraction. Speaking in July 2010, he said: "The fact is that Harry Potter is not American. He is British. Where is Diagon Alley, where they buy wands and stuff? It is in London, and if you want to get into the Ministry of Magic you disappear down a London telephone box. The train for Hogwarts goes from King's Cross, not Grand Central Station."
The final Harry Potter movie will open in cinemas in July 2011. Inspired by J.K. Rowling's series of books, the movies have spawned a massive merchandise industry as well as the Wizarding World at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. Universal recently announced that its Orlando resort had received a 20% boost in attendance during 2010 following the opening of the Potter-themed land.