Harry Potter is a mainstay of current pop culture, and one of the few franchises to not only have critically acclaimed novels but movies to match. The original eight movies were juggernauts at the box office, with Box Office Mojo reporting that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 earned over $381 million domestically, tallying a $169 million opening weekend. Although not as widely acclaimed or anticipated, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them made a respectable $74 million when it debuted in 2016. However, its sequel, the latest arrival to the wizarding series, has thus far been less successful when compared to its predecessors.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald released last Friday, earning around $62 million over three days. Although this doesn’t seem like a measly amount, taking into consideration a production budget of $200 million and the fact that no other Potter movie has opened below $70 million makes it a slight disappointment for Warner Bros. Thankfully, it’s doing extremely well overseas. Box Office Mojo notes that it’s garnered around $191 million, with the total gross amounting to $253 million worldwide.
NME delves into possible reasons why Potter fans stayed at home, discussing varying theories, including the casting choices of Claudia Kim and Johnny Depp. Many were upset when Korean actress Claudia Kim was cast as Nagini, Voldemort’s right hand woman, feeling that it was racially insensitive. Controversy also emerged when Johnny Depp remained in the cast after domestic abuse allegations made by his ex-wife, Amber Heard, surfaced. Although these reasons might have some effect on the movie, it is most likely not the sole reason for the muted reception. The film was also subject to many polarizing reviews prior to premiering, and many critics have stated that the film is too reliant on flashy visuals while losing its sense of storytelling and character development.
Even though the current film did not do as well as its counterparts, hope remains that future films in the franchise shall reclaim the box office magic of previous entries.