Fantastic Beasts to be released November 18, 2016

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Warner Bros. has dated J.K. Rowling’s first installment in the Harry Potter spinoff trilogy “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for Nov. 18, 2016.

“Fantastic Beasts” becomes the first title on the date — two days before Lionsgate opens “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2″ as the final film in that franchise.

Warner Bros. topper Kevin Tsujihara revealed in March that the studio was following in the footsteps of “The Hobbit” franchise with three “megamovies” for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Tsujihara persuaded Rowling last year to revive the Harry Potter movie magic by adapting her Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for the big screen. Rowling wrote the 54-page book in 2001 between publication of the fourth and fifth Potter books.

Set initially in New York about seven decades before the start of the Harry Potter story, the films will follow magizoologist Newt Scamander. They’re not prequels or sequels, but an “extension of the wizarding world.”

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