As expected, Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore experienced the lowest US opening for the Wizarding World live-action movie franchise yet. At this point, it will be very interesting to see if the remaining two films in the five-movie series will be greenlit.
It’s official, Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore managed to earn the lowest domestic opening for the Wizarding World franchise with only $43 million. In contrast, the second film, The Crimes of Grindelwald, earned $62 million in 2018. And before someone brings in the “we’re still in a pandemic!” excuse, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 managed a $71 million opening just last week. Even though you might be a fan of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, I think it is time to realize that it is in trouble, regardless of the pandemic.
If you had told me about 8 years ago that the Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts movie franchise was going to flop at the box office, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are. A lot has happened during those 8 years and, in my opinion, it’s clear that the Wizarding World franchise needs to pivot. The Fantastic Beasts IP is just not strong enough to warrant more big-screen installments.
A bunch of fans side-eyed the FF series the moment they realized that it wasn’t going to deliver what the title promised. I mean, one would assume that FF was going to be fantastical magical beasts. But unfortunately, Rowling and Warner Bros had other plans. The first film decided to bring in Grindelwald, with the second installment taking a political turn that just couldn’t hold fan interest.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned $814 million at the global box office in 2016 with 2018’s The Crimes of Grindelwald collecting $654 million. This was an obvious case of diminishing returns. And because Rowling decided to stick with her initial plan, The Secrets of Dumbledore couldn’t mend the damage even though Rowling got HP-veteran Steve Kloves as a co-screenwriter.
Now, while I’m not saying both situations didn’t impede the total box office numbers in some manner, in my opinion, such fandom-centric protests were likely small compared to other issues plaguing the FF franchise. There’s a very big world outside Twitter and while online protests do work, I think The Secrets of Dumbledore flopped because people, as a whole, just didn’t care enough.
To be fair, the first FF movie (2016) earned the lowest box office haul for a Wizarding World film before a majority of people were aware of Rowling’s anti-transgender position. The Crimes of Grindelwald opened and went on to earn a box office haul even lower than its predecessor in 2018. So, it’s no surprise that The Secrets of Dumbledore followed suit, regardless of the Rowling and Depp situation that transpired during the break between the two films.
According to Variety, Warner Bros is allegedly waiting to see how much Fantastic Beasts 3 will be able to earn to determine if the fourth and fifth films should even be greenlit. In my opinion, with how things concluded, The Secrets of Dumbledore can serve as an okay-ish goodbye if the series does indeed get canceled.
Some fans are hoping for an HBO Max movie focusing solely on Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s legendary confrontation. So, let’s see what the studio and Rowling decide to do.
Also, there are certain fans who want the OG Harry Potter cast to return for a live-action adaptation of The Cursed Child (please no!) or something else set in that era. Considering Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint are pro-transgender rights, it will be interesting to see if such a return is even possible as long as Rowling continues to profit from the Wizarding World and how it will be received on social media.
Harry Potter and the Moral Conundrum!
I’m kind of here for the drama!
As of right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the film series takes a break with Warner Bros trying to come up with a way to create something else Harry Potter-related for HBO Max to keep milking the IP.
Have you watched The Secrets of Dumbledore? What did you think of it?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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