Even before the various behind the scenes issues and controversies began to plague the sequel, the project that was eventually titled as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was already earmarked as a pivotal moment for the Wizarding World prequel series.
Predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald holds the unwanted distinction of being both the lowest-grossing and worst-reviewed entry in a franchise that’s been going strong for over 20 years, putting additional pressure on the follow-up to arrest the alarming slide.
The good news is that The Secrets of Dumbledore is a minor return to form based on the largely positive reactions from fans and critics so far, but the early numbers are already trailing The Crimes of Grindelwald. Of course, the movie doesn’t hit domestic theaters until this coming Friday, but despite topping the charts in China, it isn’t off to the start that Warner Bros. would have been expecting.
While COVID obviously remains a factor, it can’t be overlooked that Fantastic Beasts 3 could only rustle up $58 million from 22 international markets over the weekend. To put that into perspective, The Crimes of Grindelwald pulled in a huge $191 million, although it opened in a number of additional territories.
The real test will come this week, with The Secrets of Dumbledore opening domestically and expanding to another 44 countries, because real questions will be getting asked about the fourth and fifth installments should this one under-perform again and continue to outline that the general public are growing increasingly apathetic to the Wizarding World.