JK Rowling’s Businesses Doing Terrible, Author In Big Trouble?

JK Rowling's production business has dropped in profit dramatically, either because of the pandemic or because of the author's controversial online comments.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

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JK Rowling’s production company, Bronte Film and TV has dropped 74 percent in profits since 2020, according to Deadline. While Bronte Film blames the drop on the pandemic and how theater performances of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child were forced to close for a few years, others speculate that it may also have something to do with Rowling’s controversial comments over trans rights, which began occurring around the same time frame.

Bronte Film and TV was established by JK Rowling in 2012 with the partnership of Rowling’s editor, Neil Blair. Bronte Film and TV’s pre-tax profit has dropped dramatically in the last year alone, going from £6.9 million in 2021 to only £1.8 million in 2022. The Harry Potter author is the majority stakeholder in the company, which means that if the production company is doing badly, then so is Rowling.

Additionally, Bronte Film and TV’s subsidiary, Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, reported revenue of £3.5 million for 2022, which makes for a pre-tax profit of £1.1 million. The revenue report is down by 65 percent from the £10.1 million the subsidiary made in 2021, and a total of 84 percent pre-tax profit loss in total in comparing to the previous year. While JK Rowling blamed the profit loss on COVID restrictions, the explanation doesn’t make complete sense when considering that restrictions became less strict in 2022 in comparison with 2021.

Meanwhile, JK Rowling is doing what she can to build a higher profit for her company. Rowling’s novel, The Ink Black Heart (penned under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith), will be adapted for BBC as the sixth season of the British crime drama Strike. The entire television series is based on Rowling’s novel series and follows Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke), who is a war veteran and detective who solves cases with his business partner Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger).

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Fans of the Strike series were nervous that JK Rowling would not accept BBC’s proposal to renew the show for a sixth season after guests on BBC’s news shows called the author transphobic. The callouts came from transwomen who were discussing the new Harry Potter video game, Hogwarts Legacy, on Good Morning Scotland and said that they were boycotting the game because it was being used to fund the anti-trans movement. BBC apologized to the Harry Potter author, saying that the hosts of the show failed to challenge the women’s claims properly.

Harry Potter is arguably the most successful franchise ever to be created, and it was birthed out of JK Rowling’s imagination. The author had developed a devoted fanbase with die-hard Potter Heads adamant that their beloved author could do no wrong… until she went too far. After her controversial tweets supporting the anti-trans movement, Rowling lost a large chunk of her followers and became the center of controversy. 

Now, actors from the Harry Potter franchise have spoken out either for or against the author, her works are being boycotted, JK Rowling failed to attend the Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter 20th anniversary special celebrating her work, and it appears that her business is also declining. While the author has said that she “never set out to hurt anyone,” she has also refused to retract her comments. The author said it herself when she stated, “time will tell whether I’ve got this wrong.” 

Will JK Rowling’s business recover post-COVID and post-controversial Twitter comments, or is this only the beginning of a downward spiral for someone who used to be one of the most beloved authors of all time?