The story of this third opus leaves plenty of open avenues for the sequels. Its box office will decide the future of the franchise.
Throwing Fantastic Beastsin 2016, producer David Heyman, screenwriters JK Rowling and Steve Kloves, and director David Yates announced a saga of five films derivatives of the main franchise Harry Potter. Starting in 1926, its plot should continue until 1945, the year of an important confrontation between Albus Dumbledore (played by Jude Law in these prequels) and Gellert Grindelwald (now played by Mads Mikkelsen). A duel mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallowswhich is not yet shown in the third installment coming out this week in cinemas, and whose story takes place in the 1930s.
Fantastic Beasts 3: Dumbledore’s Secrets Adds Confusion to Confusion [critique]
A part of the public wondered however if this third opus would not mark the end of the fantastic animals in the cinema, as its production was complicated for Warner Bros. Since the release of Crimes of Grindelwaldin 2018, Johnny Depp, accused of domestic violence against his ex-wife Amber Heard, was thanked by the studio, while the filming of Dumbledore’s Secrets had already started. Mads Mikkelsen was brought in to replace him, but that was just one problem among many. Ezra Miller, who plays Croyance Bellebosse/Aurelius Dumbledore, a key role in this new story, has been arrested several times for violent behavior (his last escapade, in a karaoke in Hawaii, prompted the firm to put on hold its projects around Flash, the superhero he plays in another important saga of the studio).
Author JK Rowling has repeatedly posted homophobic comments on social media, leading to reviews of part of the cast of the films Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the hero of the initial saga, Emma Watson, alias Hermione, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, at the heart of the prequels, all reacted). His comments also divided fans. When launching the promotion of this third component, the creator of this universe did not participate in her press conference, appearing only during the preview of the film, but without answering questions from journalists. An absence all the more noticeable as a few months earlier, she had also not participated in Back to Hogwartsthe special broadcast on HBO Max to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter in the cinema, the production contenting itself with integrating a few excerpts from interviews with the author dating back to 2019.
Another absence also made noise before the release of the Dumbledore’s Secrets : that of Tina, played by Katherine Waterstonwho finally appears well on screen, but only in cameo, the time of a short scene, while she held the main female role of the first opus, and was more present in The Crimes of Grindelwald, in 2018. Not to mention that the Covid-19 epidemic passed through there, further delaying its shooting (which partly explains the gap of almost 4 years between the 2nd and 3rd films). This has certainly impacted the budget of this sequel, and may also have an influence on its box office, overall weaker in recent months than before the spread of this pandemic globally.
Fantastic Beasts 3: Mads Mikkelsen would have liked to speak with Johnny Depp
Once in front Dumbledore’s Secretsit is however clear that the initial project to release five opuses of fantastic animals is still relevant. The film opens up plenty of avenues to explore later, for example finally evoking Ariana, Dumbledore’s sister, and ending with a threat from Grindelwald (we won’t say more about it here). During his promotion, the main actors also mentioned the continuation of the adventure, Jude Law having for example explained that his incarnation of Albus “did not represent Dumbledore’s final form“ and Eddie Redmayne detailing that the cast had access to the script on a film-by-film basisbut they only had “glints of the overall plot”thus implying that the story of Norbert Dragonneau and the others would not end there.
It remains to be seen whether it will be successful. On the critical side, the saga of fantastic animals Split. If the first part had obtained a correct average of 74% of positive opinions on Rotten Tomatoesthe scores of the following films are much lower: 36% for The Crimes of Grindelwald and 58% (so far) for Dumbledore’s Secrets. Audience appeal is noticeably less than with the main franchise, and it shows at the box office too. If the first had raised 814 million dollars worldwide, including 234 in the United States, its sequel earned 654 million greenbacks, including 159 million in the US (i.e. less than its official budget of 200 million, not including its advertising ). This represents a 20% drop from the original film and the lowest score of the entire saga. It is also noted that Fantastic Beasts generally works better abroad, and the success of the third installment will partly depend on this: it will not be released in Russia following the blocking of new releases in the country by several major Hollywood studios after Vladimir Putin’s army invaded Ukraine. It also risks being censored in some countries, sincehe finally openly addresses the hero’s homosexuality, Dumbledore. If there is no exchange of kisses, nor a truly explicit scene, at least a dialogue between him and Grindelwald risks being cut in the United Arab Emirates or even in China.
In concrete terms, these figures represent successes, even if Harry Potter did better by spending several times the billion dollars in revenue, but as each part is very expensive to produce, Warner Bros must make sure to make a profit from them before shooting the sequel. For the moment, Fantastic Beasts 4 and 5 have not been officially announced. The firm is probably waiting to see how No. 3 is doing this weekend during its American release? In any case, this is what varietywhich publishes a long article returning to all the problems encountered by the production during the making of the new film and affirms “from a reliable source” that the scenario of the 4th opus is not yet written. Case to follow?
Here is its trailer: