Fantastic Beasts | Director says franchise is ‘parked’

Jude Law as Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts_ The Secrets Of Dumbledore. The franchise is now parked, its director says.
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David Yates reveals that the Fantastic Beasts films are ‘parked’, with two films in the saga yet to go.

David Yates, director of all of the Fantastic Beasts films, has announced that Warner Bros has suspended the franchise three films into a planned five film series. What’s more, he’s also revealed that the plans to convert the franchise into a five-part series happened in a rather unconventional fashion.

Speaking to the Inside Total Film podcast, Yates said: “With Beasts for a minute, it’s all just parked. We got to the end of [the third film, 2022’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore] and we’re all so proud of that movie, and when it went out into the world, we just needed to sort of stop and pause, and take it easy.”

While we’re sure that Yates and everybody involved certainly needed a rest, the truth is that audiences needed one, too. Takings for the films suffered a steep decline: the first film made $811 million globally, while the following two films both fell sharply to $648 million and $404 million respectively.

In the face of such declining interest, keeping this series going seems to be a step too far, even for Warner Bros (a studio that leans heavily into franchises under the reign of CEO, David Zaslav).

Much has been made of the plan to convert what was originally a three-film arc into five films and the negative impact it had upon the series. One criticism often levelled at the Fantastic Beasts sequels is the paper-thin plot that seems stretched too tightly over too many films, something we’ve seen Warner Bros do before with The Hobbit films.

However, Yates has said that the studio had nothing to do with the initial decision to extend the series. Interestingly, neither did he. In what he claims was news to all concerned, author and franchise creator JK Rowling apparently made a public announcement without consulting anybody.

“The idea that there were going to be five films was a total surprise to most of us,” Yates said. “[Rowling] just mentioned it spontaneously, at a press screening once. We were presenting some clips of Fantastic Beasts 1. We’d all signed up for Fantastic Beasts 1, very enthusiastically. And Jo, bless her, came on … and said, ‘oh, by the way, there’s five of them.’ We all looked at each other — because no one had told us there were going to be five. We’d committed to this one. So that was the first we’d heard of it.”

Warner Bros didn’t publicly refute Rowling’s comments, and we imagine studio brass may have been pretty pleased to see the money-spinning series extended. Reconfiguring the series into five films is just one of the problems that beset the series though. Audience interest waned and now it looks like Warner has decided to move on, at least for the time being.

Yates confirmed that hasn’t spoken to Rowling, producer David Heyman, or Warner Bros, about the ‘parked’ Fantastic Beasts 4. He does add that he thinks the central character of Newt Scamander will return, but “we haven’t had any in-depth conversations.”

There will be more Wizarding World stories on the way though. A Harry Potter TV show is being developed, and we imagine we’ll see a film project of some description announced sooner or later. Perhaps not more Fantastic Beasts though, it seems.

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