‘Secrets of Dumbledore’ Franchise-Low Box Office: What Will That Mean for the Rest of J.K. Rowling’s Series?
Dumbledore and his secrets failed to pull in the usual box office results that Warner Bros. is used for with movies set in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, delivered franchise-low numbers with a $43 million opening, in comparison to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with $74 million in 2016, and The Crimes of Grindelwald’s $62 million in 2018.
The Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beats franchise had problems before author J.K. Rowling began spreading transphobic rhetoric, or even the issue of Johnny Depp’s casting as the dark wizard Grindelwald (who would be replaced by Mads Mikkelson in this third installment).
Sadly, the series has never really had a true focus. Despite initially being set around the idea of exploring the magical creatures of the Harry Potter world, it quickly became less about the titular fantastic beasts and more about the prequel war between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and his former paramour, Grindelwald.
This has made it so that former lead character, magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), continues to feel like an afterthought in what should be his big film series—not to mention showing that Rowling has no sense of timelines and dates within her own series, with having Professor McGonagall running around Hogwarts decades earlier than she should be.
I have not seen Secrets of Dumbledore, but from the reviews I have seen, while it has been better received than the previous installment by critics and fans, it really only has the truest of Potterheads behind it, at this point. There is not a lot of magic in this series to make up for the issues behind the scenes, because after the seventh novel in the original Potter series, not a lot of the Rowling material has been good anyway.
Warner Bros. will be waiting to see the returns from this film in order to decide if they will do the remaining two films in the Fantastic Beasts series, but regardless, they have big financial hopes for the series. It is, along with DC, their biggest property. Director Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter films, has expressed an interest in adapting the Cursed Child stage show, a piece of news that made me scream in horror when I heard it, but sounds like the kind of choice that Warner Bros. would love.
Of course, that doesn’t actually deal with one of the biggest albatrosses in the room: Rowling’s transphobia. During the interview for the 20th anniversary, Columbus was asked: “J.K. Rowling has been outspoken about her views on transgender identity. What would you say to her long-time fans who found her comments to be at odds with the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise’s overarching themes of empathy, love and diversity?”
“I really don’t have any comment on that,” he responded. “I don’t want to get involved. Sorry.” This issue isn’t going away, and if Warner Bros. is going to continue to put Rowling’s name in their trailers and keep their relationship ongoing, they better find ways to deal with these comments. Because they are already involved.
(via EW, image: Warner Bros.)
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