Warner Bros. has big plans for the Fantastic Beasts franchise, with last year’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald merely the second installment in a planned five-film arc. These ambitions must have been a little bit shaken though when the movie was released to an unexpectedly frosty reception from critics and fans.
Unfortunately, it ended up with a paltry 37% on the Tomatometer, with common complaints revolving around wooden expository dialogue, failing to work as a standalone story and, perhaps the most deadly criticism of all, it was kinda boring. This translated into a marked drop in its box office haul compared to its immediate predecessor, taking $200 million less than Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
The studio will be desperately hoping that this is merely a wobble for the formerly cast iron Harry Potter franchise rather than a sign that audiences have begun to look elsewhere for their thrills, which probably explains why they’ve reportedly delayed the release of Fantastic Beasts 3. Originally planned to drop on November 20th, 2020, that slot’s now been assigned to Denis Villeneuve’s hotly anticipated adaptation of Dune.
Presumably, there’s the feeling that Warner Bros. absolutely has to get Fantastic Beasts 3 right or the entire extended Harry Potter franchise could fall flat on its face. My bet is that after the tepid response to the plot developments in the sequel, they’re reconsidering the planned direction of the narrative.
With J.K. Rowling’s screenplay coming under a surprising amount of fire, perhaps they’ve been in conference with her and (no doubt delicately) asked her to have another pass at it. Their story’s that the threequel is going to be so amazingly awesome that it needs more time in the oven, but I have a bridge to sell you if you believe that.
All that means we don’t have a release date for Fantastic Beasts 3 at this time. As always, though watch this space for more.