Fantastic Beasts’ Box-Office Bust Puts Franchise in Jeopardy


They won’t be uncorking the butterbeer at Warner Bros. come Monday. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore opened to a disappointing $43 million domestically this weekend, continuing the downward trend in this sequel series to the Harry Potter franchise.

Deadline has gone so far as to suggest that, with Warner Bros. now under new management as Warner Bros. Discovery, the previously announced five-film series may end at three. “Who would greenlight a $200M net production on a franchise that wasn’t working?” the industry outlet asks. If incoming studio boss David Zaslav has ever read about the sunk-cost fallacy, we may see someone chanting Immobulus! soon. 

In 2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opened to a $74 million domestic first weekend, and 2018 saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald netting $62 million. Worldwide, they still made some impressive numbers by the ends of their runs ($814,044,001 and $654,855,901 respectively) but these declining totals are a far cry from the final Harry Potter’s $1,342,359,942

The latest Beasts entry has a 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 47 on Metacritic. (Cinemascore, which polls exiting ticket buyers, were more forgiving than critics, awarding it a B+.) The film stars Jude Law, Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Mads Mikkelsen, and Poppy Corby-Tuech.

In addition to facing increased apathy from general audiences, Fantastic Beasts has also acquired a reputation as “Hollywood’s most cursed franchise,” thanks to its association with such problematic figures as Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller, and Potter creator J.K. Rowling.

Easter weekend was also unkind to Father Stu, starring Mark Wahlberg as a boxer-turned-priest, which earned just $8 million at the domestic box office. The film co-stars Jacki Weaver and Mel Gibson, and was written and directed by Gibson’s girlfriend, the equestrian vaulter Rosalind Ross. It came in fifth this weekend, behind Fantastic Beasts, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in its second weekend, The Lost City in its fourth weekend, and the arthouse juggernaut Everything Everywhere All At Once as it continued its platform release. 

More Great Stories From Vanity Fair

The “Hot Mess” Duchess at the Center of a ’60s Sex Scandal
— Justice for Girls: Looking Back on the Show 10 Years Later
The Johnny Depp–Amber Heard Trial: How Did It Come to This?
— Amanda Seyfried Wants to Reprise Her Role as Elizabeth Holmes
— How the Cast of This Is Us Won Equal Pay
Will Smith Banned From the Oscars for 10 Years After the Slap
— Netflix’s The Ultimatum Offers a Sadistic Twist on Reality Romance
From the Archive: How David Zaslav Became America’s King of Content
— Sign up for the “HWD Daily” newsletter for must-read industry and awards coverage—plus a special weekly edition of “Awards Insider.”



Source link