Fans have been somewhat divided about the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ series, and it has shown in the box-office gross of both films. While the first film did better with around $814 million in theaters, ‘Crimes of Grindelwald lagged behind with only $653.4 million in theaters, both being considered “successes,” but the downward turn making some execs at Warner Bros a bit worried about the future of JK Rowling’s franchise. To be fair, the true magic of the original ‘Harry Potter’ series was always more in the books than in the movies, and if you look at the overall quality of the ‘Harry Potter’ films, the acting, special effects, scripts, etc, they were not much better than what we are currently getting with the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ series. In fact, I would argue that both ‘Fantastic Beasts’ films are better than most of the original ‘Harry Potter’ films in terms of overall quality. The main difference is that fans knew the story in the original ‘Harry Potter’ films was excellent because they had read and become enamored with the books and were going to see the movies regardless of their quality.
Still, JK Rowling maintains hope for the new franchise and is working hard to craft the third film to be better than the last two, hoping to win back her core audience and prove she can be just as skilled a screenwriter as a novelist (and prove she has not lost her magic touch). While speaking on the subject of the second film and hopes for the third, Warner Bros. exec Kevin Tsujihara recently told the LA Times:
“The second film didn’t perform as well as the first, but I think we know what we need to do to get the third film hopefully even better than the first one. And J.K. Rowling is really working hard now on that third script, and we’re going to get it right. She has an incredible vision of where she wants to go with this that is incredibly exciting. The hardest part of the franchise is you have such a big core fan base. That fan base really knows the lore and they want to go deep into these characters. But what you don’t want to do is intimidate people. You want to be able to create a stand-alone movie that’s enjoyable for someone who isn’t steeped in the lore.”
In my opinion ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is suffering because Rowling simply cannot write into a movie what she could in a book, try though she might. Especially not in today’s Hollywood where the mandate is that there has to be a certain amount of spectacle and eye candy, wherein her books were full of subtle clues, foreshadowing, and clever wordplay that just do not translate as well onto the screen. ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ alone opens with a 10 minute prison break that felt about 9 minutes too long, was full of very fast shots in the dark, cloudy, rainy sky that cut back and forth way too quickly, making it very hard to follow, and seemed like a choice handed down from some studio exec who felt the movie started too slowly. Especially with Warner Bros in charge, who have been bungling franchises for decades now (‘The Hobbit’ series, The DCEU, to name a few examples) with their ridiculous demands and odd choices of who to put in charge, Rowling is fighting an uphill battle for her movies. Even if she crafts a perfect script, it still has to survive the onslaught of the studio process to make it onto the screen in a form audiences will enjoy, and I do not have the most faith that it can work out for her. Still, she is a gifted writer, and if anyone can do it, it just might be Rowling, especially with the clout she still wields.
What are your thoughts on ‘The Fantastic Beasts’ franchise thus far and whether Rowling will be able to “save” it with Part 3? Share your opinions below!
Source: LA Times