J.K. Rowling's Third 'Fantastic Beasts' Has Lowest Opening Weekend of 'Harry Potter' Franchise

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore made $43 million at the domestic box office over the weekend, a franchise low for Harry Potter movies

Fantastic Beasts is summoning diminishing returns at the box office.

The third entry in the Harry Potter prequel series, The Secrets of Dumbledore, had the lowest North American opening weekend to date for the Wizarding World franchise with an estimated $43 million, according to Variety. In 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opened with $74 million domestically, and in 2018, sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald did $62 million.

Secrets of Dumbledore comes in lower than other recent releases too, including Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which opened earlier this month to $71 million, and The Batman, which debuted with $134 million.

Internationally, Secrets of Dumbledore has fared slightly better, Variety reported, with the movie earning $150.4 million so far.

In China — where some dialogue about Albus Dumbledore's past gay romance was deleted to appease Chinese censorship of LGBTQ+ content for the film's release there — Secrets of Dumbledore has made $14.7 million. Half of the country's movie theaters are currently shut down due to the pandemic, the outlet reported.

Eddie Redmayne Jude Law
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The Fantastic Beasts franchise has experienced more than one controversies in recent years.

In November 2020, Johnny Depp resigned from his role as villain Gellert Grindelwald after losing his U.K. libel case against The Sun over a headline that called him a "wife-beater" while talking about alleged domestic violence against ex-wife Amber Heard. The part was recast with Mads Mikkelsen, who debuts his version of the character in Secrets of Dumbledore.

Mikkelsen recently told The Hollywood Reporter why Grindelwald's obvious change in appearance isn't addressed in the movie: "That was very deliberate. Everybody knows why [the actors changed]. The entire world knows why. It would almost be like an Easter egg to reality to point out we swapped actors. Hopefully we drag them in with the first scene and from there they accept this world."

Also, Ezra Miller, who plays Credence Barebone in the Fantastic Beasts movies, recently fell into legal trouble in Hawaii, days before the third movie was set to hit theaters.

JK Rowling
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Potter author J.K. Rowling, who writes the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts movies, has become a controversial figure for her outspoken views on transgender rights and feminism. She attended the red carpet premiere of Secrets of Dumbledore in London late last month. After writing the first two Fantastic Beasts films solo, longtime Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves was brought back to co-write this third installment.

Rowling previously revealed that she intends for Fantastic Beasts to be a five-film series, though a fourth installment has not yet been officially confirmed by Warner Bros.

Secrets of Dumbledore is directed by David Yates (who has directed every Potter movie since 2007's Order of the Phoenix) and also stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Jude Law as a young Dumbledore, plus Alison Sudol, Jessica Williams, Dan Fogler and Callum Turner.

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