Newt who? Could Warner Brothers be refocusing its ‘Fantastic Beasts’ films to give Jude Law’s Dumbledore a bigger role? That is the latest buzz. And even though J.K. Rowling has declared that each ‘Fantastic Beasts’ installment will be set on a different continent, it sounds as though more time will be spent at Hogwarts.
Earning $650 million at the global box office, ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ can hardly be considered a failure, but it was a sizeable dip from the $814M made by ‘Where to Find Them’, which was itself a huge drop from the $1 billion generated by ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’. ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ was the worst-grossing movie of the entire Wizarding World series. It was never expected that the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ pictures would be as popular as the ‘Harry Potter’ flicks, but the lackluster acclaim that they have generated, plus the diminishing box office is enough to make Warner Brothers pause.
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The studio has already deviated from its plan to release a new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ every two years, but after the reception to ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’, they pumped the brakes and took a little longer to develop the third installment, and it appears that among the plans to right this course, is to bring this series more in line with ‘Harry Potter’.
Exhibitor Relations box office analyst, Jeff Bock, said to Variety:
“I don’t think you can discount a movie that made $650 million, but there’s an issue any time a sequel drops that far from the original. We’ve seen what happens when a studio tries to put out a third movie in a franchise after the second didn’t do anything for audiences.
“If you look at what worked with ‘Crimes of Grindelwald, it was when they went back to Hogwarts. There were audible gasps from the audience. People loved seeing Jude Law as Dumbledore. Hopefully, J.K. and the writers realize just because the movie is set in Brazil doesn’t mean we can’t spend half the time at Hogwarts. There are things they could do to save the movie.”
The reception to the third picture is especially crucial, as Rowling and Warner Brothers don’t plan to stop there. There are expected to be five ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies total, so there are two more planned after this next one. But if it keeps losing viewers with each installment– which is actually perfectly normal for a lot of franchises– those last two may not be financially feasible. While some studios are okay with franchises losing steam, this one is particularly expensive and has a lot of extra money on the line, generated from books, toys, clothing, video games, and so forth.
Earlier this week, Warner Brothers announced that ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ would begin filming in Spring of 2020, and is expected to be released on November 12, 2021. In addition to Law, the third film will also bring back Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, and Dan Fogler.
What do you think? Do the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies need to hew closer to ‘Harry Potter’? Or would you prefer it establish itself as its own entity?