A new Fantastic Beasts movie is highly improbable at this point. Warner Bros. had been considering further installments — the Harry Potter prequels were meant as a five-film series — but plans hinged on the success of part three, The Secrets of Dumbledore, which bombed badly despite a $405.2 million box-office haul. So the studio aims to reverse course.
That’s putting it mildly when you ask YouTuber ThatUmbrellaGuy (TUG) who recently gathered and presented evidence that shows the sand in the hourglass has run out for the J.K. Rowling property. Warner is “ghosting” the franchise as there are no sequels or spinoffs in the pipeline and, if there ever will be, they will likely be made somewhere else.
The debt-ridden studio is busy right now getting rid of the first two Fantastic Beasts movies they have on HBO Max. The reason for this appears to be regret over making the ever-controversial Ezra Miller the face of the series going forward after the firing of Johnny Depp. They sided with Amber Heard in the couple’s ongoing legal battle and dismissed him as Grindelwald.
Her allegations that caused his removal were contradicted during the defamation lawsuit that got the public’s attention last year but she kept her job in Aquaman 2, and no amnesty or forgiveness was granted to Depp. Meanwhile, Miller kept getting into serious trouble around the world, souring the actor’s reputation. This month, the actor took a plea deal for burglary, resulting in probation.
This “renewed conversations” and controversies within WB on what to do about the actor, says TUG. However, instead of letting Miller go, they appear to be throwing Fantastic Beasts to the side and continuing the investment they have in Miller and The Flash. According to several accounts, CEO David Zaslav believes in the film which, moreover, has cost them hundreds of millions in cash.
Throwing more money at it, Miller will feature in a Super Bowl ad hyping the summer release and before that Fantastic Beasts 1 and 2 will be gone from HBO Max. In Warner’s collective mind, TUG adds, this is the move that will miraculously distance themselves from Miller’s scandals as if they never happened. And this is a cosmetic maneuver, not monetary.
Warner already spent their money on these films, streaming them would cost nothing extra. However, they want to shelve it all “and get it away from their brand,” especially part 2 in which Miller has a strong presence. Selling them off to other services would also make them some money — a prime directive under Zaslav’s leadership.
Spending more to make a profit by way of production seems out of the question conversely. Their star Eddie Redmayne and producer David Heyman are in the dark as to if a fourth movie is being written or developed by director David Yates, who has clearly moved on to other things. Between that and the studio’s massive debt, the odds are FB is dead.