It looks like we may well not discover the Secrets of Dumbledore after all, because wherever the Fantastic Beasts are, one place you certainly won’t find them is at the top of the box office.
Fantastic Beasts 3, the third instalment in the Harry Potter spin-off series, came to theatres earlier in April after being embroiled in a series of controversies. Not only was cast member Ezra Miller arrested in Hawaii, but Johnny Depp was also recast as Grindewald, with media outlets speculating that the reason for this was his ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard. Meanwhile, JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter franchise, has been at the centre of much social media scrutiny in recent years due to the public discourse surrounding single-sex spaces and the transgender community.
Although the impressive performance of the first fantasy movie in the Fantastic Beasts franchise caused Warner Bros to greenlight a five-part movie series, a new report by Variety claims that the controversies associated with the franchise along with concerns about Fantastic Beasts 3’s box office performance mean that the future of the action movie series in doubt. According to Variety, Warner Bros sources have said a fourth movie has not yet been greenlit, and depends on the box office performance of the next film.
“There have been franchises that have been hit with problems, but not like this. This is a confluence of events that does not bode well.” Stephen Galloway, the dean of the Chapman University film school, told Variety. He added, “Feature film revenue is the tip of the iceberg here. It’s pretty crucial to their business moving forward.”
Although Fantastic Beasts 3 opened at the top of the UK box office, grossing £5.9 million, its opening is much lower than its predecessors. The first Fantastic Beasts movie grossed £15.3 million upon opening, while its sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald, took £12.3 million. This drop appears to have been replicated in its global box office debut, as the adventure movie only grossed $58 million in 22 territories.
The jury is still out on Fantastic Beast 3’s box office performance until it opens in US theatres later this April, but in the meantime, check out Virgin River correspondent Jakob Barnes’ review of the family movie, which he describes as “lacklustre.”