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Universal Studios Japan sets July opening for 'Harry Potter' attraction

Universal Studios Japan sets July opening for 'Harry Potter' attraction
Universal Studios Japan unveiled Hogwarts castle -- the focal point of its forthcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction -- at a press event on Friday.

Universal Studios Japan's Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction will open July 15, the theme park announced Friday at an event attended by Japanese and foreign dignitaries.

The $500-million Wizarding World, similar to an attraction that opened at Universal Orlando Resort in 2010, will include rides incorporating environments and characters from the "Harry Potter" book and film franchises.

The themed land, part of the 108-acre theme park in Osaka, will feature attractions such as Hogsmeade Village, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, and Hogwarts castle.

Universal Studios Japan unveiled that castle -- the focal point of the Wizarding World -- at an event attended by Caroline Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to Japan, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Universal Studios Hollywood will open a similar Wizarding World attraction in 2016. The project is under construction.

Warner Bros.' eight-picture "Harry Potter" film series sold more than $7.7 billion in movie tickets worldwide before coming to an end in 2011 with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2."

Universal Studios licenses the "Harry Potter" intellectual property from Warner Bros. for use in the theme parks.

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In September, Burbank-based Warner Bros. said that it would produce a series of movies inspired by "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," a 42-page fictional Hogwarts textbook that author J.K. Rowling wrote in 2001 to accompany her "Potter" novels.

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