Mid-day Update

Mid-day Extra: Do theme parks depend on Harry Potter?

Jeremy Hobson Dec 6, 2011

To a theme park that hopes to dazzle kids who’ve done some reading — or movie watching —  in the past decade.
Today, it is expected to be announced that Universal Studios Hollywood will announce plans for a new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in southern California.

There may be no more books and films coming out, but the Potter brand still seems to be worth a lot.

According to reports, the Orlando location of the Harry Potter attraction brought in over 7 million people in the first year of operation, and helped increase Universal’s visitor numbers by 36 percent in the first quarter.

In today’s Mid-day Extra, we ask: are franchises like Harry Potter dictating the future of theme parks?

To get a little insight, we called Erik Yates, editor of BehindtheThrills.com.

He said that while five years ago he never would have believed it, it is starting to look like “Harry Potter,” “Avatar,” and other movie blockbusters will increasingly make a mark on the theme park landscape. And despite the lackluster economy of the last few years, this particular industry is booming — perhaps because a little time at Hogwarts could be just the kind of escapism Americans are craving these days.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.