‘Fantastic Beasts’ Director Admits Franchise “Is All Just Parked” After They Recast Johnny Depp And Flopped At Box Office
The Harry Potter prequel franchise Fantastic Beasts has been “parked” according to director David Yates.
Yates recently appeared on the Inside Total Film podcast to promote his Netflix film Pain Hustlers where he stated, “With Beasts, it’s all just parked. We made those three movies, we made the last one through a pandemic, and it was enormous fun, but it was tough. We were actually filming when there wasn’t a vaccine. Thankfully, no one got sick, but we did have the most detailed protocols in place.”
“And then we got to the end of [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.”
“And the idea that there were going to be five films was a total surprise to most of us because Jo just mentioned it spontaneously at a press screening once,” he continued. “We were literally, I think we were presenting [Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them] or we were presenting some clips of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And we had all signed up for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them very enthusiastically and Jo, bless her, came on and I was there with her and the other actors and we were [there] with her talking about the movie that we were making that we were very excited about that first Fantastic Beasts film.”
“And Jo said, ‘Oh, by the way there’s five of them.’ And we all looked at each other because no one had told us there was going to be five. We’d sort of committed to this one and so that was the first we heard of it,” he recalled.
Yates then returned to Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore saying, “But in terms of our cycle of production, we’ve all come out of the third one. It was a wonderful experience to make that movie, but we’re just all taking a pause. I haven’t spoken to Jo, and I haven’t spoken to David Heyman. I haven’t spoken to Warner Bros. We’re just taking a pause,” he reiterated.
He added, “And it’s quite nice. And it allows me to do stuff like this and other things that I’ve got lined up that I’m excited about. But I’m sure at some point Newt may well be back. Who can tell? We aren’t really– We haven’t really got any in-depth conversations at the moment.”
Actor Johnny Depp, who was revealed to be Gellert Grindelwald at the conclusion of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and reprised the role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, was recast for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Dumbledore. He was replaced by actor Mads Mikkelsen.
Depp announced Warner Bros. asked him to resign in an Instagram Post back in November 2020. He wrote, “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.”
Following Depp acquiescing to Warner Bros. request a fan petition garnering nearly 300,000 signatures called for people to bring back Depp or they would boycott the film.
It’s unclear how effective the threat of boycott was, but the Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was the worst performing film in the Fantastic Beast franchise. The movie had an opening weekend of $42.1 million domestically. It went on to gross a total of $95.8 million domestically. It added on another $308.7 million internationally for a global gross of $404.5 million in 2022.
The first entry in the franchise grossed $234 million domestically and $811.7 globally back in 2016. The sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald, grossed $159.5 million domestically and a worldwide total of $648.4 million.
Warner Bros. announced in April they would be adapting Rowling’s books into a Max series. The company detailed in a press release, “The series will be a faithful adaptation of the beloved Harry Potter book series by author and executive producer, J.K. Rowling.”
The press release adds, “The stories from each of Rowling’s Harry Potter books will become a decade-long series produced with the same epic craft, love and care this global franchise is known for.”
It also notes the series “will feature a new cast to lead a new generation of fandom, full of the fantastic detail, much loved characters and dramatic locations that Harry Potter fans have loved for over twenty-five years.”
Finally, it revealed that it appears each book will be adapted into a single season. The press release says, “Each season will be authentic to the original books and bring Harry Potter and these incredible adventures to new audiences around the world.”
Your Hogwarts letter is here.
— Max (@StreamOnMax) April 12, 2023
Rowling commented on the new adaptation saying, “Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long form television series.”
CEO and Chairman of HBO and Max Casey Bloys also said, “We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way.”
He added, “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World. In partnership with Warner Bros. Television and J.K. Rowling, this new Max Original series will dive deep into each of the iconic books that fans have continued to enjoy for all of these years.”
What do you make of Yates revealing the Fantastic Beasts franchise has been “parked?”