Future Fantastic Beast Movies Are Not Guaranteed - Report

Major franchise decisions hinge on The Secrets of Dumbledore's performance.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which is due for a stateside release on April 15, will reportedly be make-or-break for the franchise. According to Variety, there's no screenplay for a fourth installment and Warner Bros. executives are waiting to see how the film performs at the box office to give the green light.

Warner Bros. pumping the brakes at this point casts doubt on whether Fantastic Beasts will complete its ambitions as a five-film franchise. But the franchise has been beset with a steady stream of setbacks, so this film proving to be a pivotal juncture for the series does not come as a total shock. The film was repeatedly delayed by COVID and was repeatedly tied up in controversies stemming from its principals.

For example, in 2021, Mads Mikkelsen was called in to replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald for this film--and the latter actor was paid an eight-figure fee ($10 million or more) as part of his exit package after reportedly filming just one scene. Ezra Miller, who has a key role in The Secrets of Dumbledore, was recently arrested for disorderly misconduct and harassment. And has also been widely publicized, Harry Potter author JK Rowling herself has become a problematic figure exhibiting discriminatory behavior, frequently offering public support of anti-transgender rhetoric.

"This is their Star Wars franchise. You expect more," exhibitor relations analyst Jeff Bock told Variety. "This is supposed to be a crown jewel, and it's not behaving like one."

Nevertheless, The Secrets of Dumbledore has been performing well in China, where it opened last weekend. Converted into US dollars, the film there took in roughly $9.7 million--a massive take considering all movies in Chinese theaters combined generated $15.5 million for the weekend. This, also, despite the film being censored--the removal of six seconds of dialogue referring to a gay relationship between Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Mikkelsen).

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