Warner Bros. have made a point of not beginning active development on the fourth or fifth installments in the Fantastic Beasts franchise until The Secrets of Dumbledore has started to wind down its run in theaters, which means that things aren’t looking very good at all for the prequel series.
Once upon a time, as recently as just a few years ago in fact, the notion of a Wizarding World movie opening to a meager (for the standards of the IP) $43 million at the box office would have sounded ridiculous, but the franchise has been taking hit after hit on either side of the camera since The Crimes of Grindelwald was released in November 2018.
Not only that, but Eddie Redmayne’s third outing as Newt Scamander has also seen its Rotten Tomatoes score freefall since this time last week. Where it was once sitting respectably Fresh, The Secrets of Dumbledore has now plummeted to a decidedly mediocre 48% on the aggregation site.
David Yates’ latest magical blockbuster has scored nearly $20 million less than its predecessor did during its first three days on the big screen, and The Crimes of Grindelwald‘s $62 million debut was viewed as a huge disappointment at the time. International audiences may yet be able to save The Secrets of Dumbledore, but that’s a huge ask.
While it still seems unlikely that Warner Bros. would simply can such a lucrative cash cow without any sense of real closure, definitely don’t rule out the possibility that Fantastic Beasts 4 could be repositioned as the final chapter in Newt’s story.