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‘Weird’ Al Yankovic Reveals He Wanted to do a Harry Potter Parody, But Warner Bros. Said No

Harry Potter, Harry Potter plot, Harry Potter cast
Image Credit: 1492 Pictures

Weird Al Yankovic is the elder statesman of the musical comedy. He has been writing parody songs since the ’70s, which include international hits like “Eat It” and “Like a Surgeon.”

Usually, Weird Al likes to get the permission of the artists before he parodies and makes his songs. That’s, however, not something that he has to do — parodies aren’t considered a copyright infringement under U.S. law — but he tries to do it anyway rather than risk ticking someone off.

There are times it hasn’t worked out too. For instance, he told The Hollywood Reporter about when he wanted to create a parody of “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter movies, written by the legendary composer John Williams. “A decade or two ago, I approached the movie company to get a general blessing like, ‘Hey, I’d like to do a Harry Potter parody,'” Yankovic recalled. “And I think they refused to allow me, or never responded maybe.”

If you do not know much about the title “Hedwig’s Theme,” I can guarantee you’ll remember its music. It’s also stretched over the original Harry Potter movies and the Fantastic Beasts prequels.

Yankovic isn’t precise about getting permission to perform parodies, but when it comes to big franchises like that of Harry Potter. “If I’m doing a franchise, it’s better to do it and then ask for forgiveness rather than taking prior permission,” he said. “When you deal with franchises, and you ask permission, you know, many people can say no, and they usually do.”

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