The latest chapter of the Fantastic Beasts saga is now in theaters, but a disappointing opening weekend may mean the franchise has lost its magic.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third installment in the Harry Potter spinoff franchise that first debuted in 2016. The prequel tales follow Newt Scamander and a new crop of heroes trying to stop the villainous Gellert Grindelwald from taking control of the wizarding world. The newest film sees Eddie Redmayne reprise his role as Scamander, Jude Law returns as a young Albus Dumbledore, and Mads Mikkelsen takes over the role of Grindelwald previously held by Johnny Depp.
The previous two Fantastic Beasts films performed the poorest at the domestic box office out of the entire Harry Potter series, and it looks like that trend is continuing with The Secrets of Dumbledore.
NO MORE MAGIC IN FANTASTIC BEASTS?
Despite finishing #1 at the Easter weekend box office, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore pulled in just $42.1 million in its debut frame. That marks the lowest opening weekend of not just the Fantastic Beasts series, but of any film from the Wizarding World. In fact, the last three Fantastic Beasts films have set a new floor for the Harry Potter franchise, with each new entry opening lower than the previous one.
For context, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them pulled in $74.4 million in its opening weekend back in 2016, and then two years later, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opened to $62.1 million. Before the first Fantastic Beasts film, 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had the smallest opening of any Harry Potter film at $77.1 million. It’s been diminishing returns for Fantastic Beasts, which may be bad news for Warner Bros. if it intends to keep the franchise a five-film saga.
Critically, The Secrets of Dumbledore is sitting at a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is actually an improvement over its predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald (36%). However, both films have steeply declined from the first chapter’s 74% score on the review aggregator. Audience-wise, The Secrets of Dumbledore earned a B+ CinemaScore, meaning moviegoers weren’t completely enthralled with the secrets Albus Dumbledore was keeping.
With a $200 million production budget, it seems like The Secrets of Dumbledore will have to gain traction overseas in order to turn a profit. The film is seeing some success at the worldwide box office, grossing more than $192 million as of Monday. The first Fantastic Beasts film ended its worldwide run with $811.7 million, while The Crimes of Grindelwald declined to $651.2 million worldwide, so time will tell if the diminishing domestic returns will be reflected around the globe.
Elsewhere at the box office, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 continued its strong showing by raking in $29.3 million, bringing its domestic total up to $118.9 million. The Lost City came in third with $6.2 million, Everything Everywhere All at One finished right behind at $6.1 million, and Mark Wahlberg’s Father Stu debuted at #5 with $5.4 million over the three-day weekend (the film actually opened on April 13).
Morbius dropped out of the top five in just its third week of release, declining more than 53% to pull in $4.7 million over the Easter holiday. The Batman remained in the top ten in its seventh week, adding an extra $3.7 million to a domestic total that has now crossed $365 million.
For 2022 as a whole, The Batman remains the #1 domestic film of the year, followed by Uncharted at $145 million, then Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which has become the third film of the year to top $100 million in the U.S. The Secrets of Dumbledore is clinging to the tenth spot of the domestic top ten following its opening weekend, but it won’t be long for that list with films like The Northman and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness set to come out in the next few weeks.
What did you think of The Secrets of Dumbledore? Do you think its time for the franchise to be reworked in some way? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date with everything going on in the nerdy worlds you love.