After two years of waiting, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald disappointed great part of the fandom,
the critics and the audience. Against facts, there are no arguments: 37% approval rate on Rotten Tomatoes, website that compiles and reveals the average satisfaction of critics, and only 644.6 million dollars at the Box Office made this the worst rated movie and less lucrative from the ten titles of The Wizarding World. But not all is lost: there is redemption for Fantastic Beasts. but there is also reasons to worry.
Warner Bros. needs to make up for the lost ground. The budget of The Crimes Of Grindelwald was over 200 million dollars, and its marketing campaign must have costed around that as well, taking The Justice League as an example, another movie from the studio in a similar situation. Considering that the cinemas keep 50% of the ticket price, is likely that the movie show losses.
The decision to release an extended version on the digital platform shows a first attempt to not lose money. As an exemple, Blade Runner 2049 had a Box Office that did not cover the production cost, but it was the second best selling movie in Home Video in 2018. Besides that, with the extended version there is a chance to present a more cohesive cut and to redeem itself with the unhappy fans – wich Warner already did, with success, in Batman vs. Superman.
The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second movie out of five movies promissed for the franchise. Its failure does not only weigh in the pocket, but also leaves the franchise’s future unclear. If two movies were not enough to please the Harry Potter fandom, it is hard to guarantee the next three movies if no drastic changes in production, from the script to the direction, happen.
There is no denial that J.K. Rowling is a great story-teller. However, book and movie are two very different narratives. A script needs to be direct, with no loose ends, each scene serving a specific purpose. At a press conference during the release of the first film, Rowling said that she bought a book about writing a screenplay but never opened it and also did not asked Steve Kloves for help, the screenwriter in Harry Potter and producer in Fantastic Beasts. This help would have been welcomed, because both of Fantastic Beasts scripts show basic mistakes, like plots that lead to nothing and over expository dialogues. Rowling needs a writing partner, or at least a consultant with power of alteration, so that the third movie of the series have a more rounded base. Hiring someone experient and renowned would help give more confidence to the audience who complained about the script.
The second thing that needs to be changed, or at least discussed, is the direction. David Yates directed 6 out of 10 Wizarding World’s movies. He has its merits. However, his style of story telling is more realistic – no wonder, his best movie is The Deathly Hallows – Part 1, which takes place in the Muggle world. That transpires in his lack of creativity in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and in the bad conduct of The Crimes of Grindelwald. Handling with a director that is in the franchise for so long can be more comfortable, but it is not the best option when things are not going well. The third Fantastic Beasts needs a director with steady hand, that respects the screenwriter, but cuts mercilessly the story’s exaggerations, and not someone who will just film everything that she wrote and them try to solve problems in the final cut – which did not work in the second movie.
Filming unnecessary scenes will eventually lead Warner Bros. to reduce the bugdet to for the third movie. That could be one of the reasons for the filming five-month postponement. The script must be shortened, meaning, before the filming begins, the director needs to define what actually goes in the movie’s final cut.
While visiting the Crimes of Grindelwald‘s set, POTTERISH’s chief editor, Pedro Martins, reported that the stores at the “French Diagonal Alley” were full of products and objects that did not appear in the movie. Even though that helps in the actors immersion, it is a huge waste of money, specially in a series where the second movie could have made a loss.
+ The day we visited the Fantastic Beasts filming set
The salvation of Fantastic Beasts, requires planning, attitude and willingness. The Wizarding World still has a lot to offer, and the plot of Fantastic Beasts is interesting, but needs adjustements. Besides that, this franchise must not be the only spin-off planned inside the Harry Potter world. It would be a shame if the expansion of the universe lost his breath after its first attempt.
Marina Anderi is a filmmaker and Marketing Manager for POTTERISH.