Fantastic Beasts 4 Status: Harry Potter Franchise Canceled after Poor Performance

By Kieran Burt
Published: February 19, 2023 (Last updated: March 19, 2024)
Fantastic Beasts 4
Fantastic Beasts Promotional Image (Credit to Warner Bros. Pictures)

It turns out that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was the first film in a five-part prequel series, showing the build-up and famous duel between Albus Dumbledore and his former love Grindelwald hinted at in the Harry Potter novels, with subsequent installments planned. But, as the third film has now come and gone out of cinemas, the status of Fantastic Beasts 4 is in a bad way, with multiple factors contributing to this.

What is the status of Fantastic Beasts 4?

Unfortunately for fans of the first Fantastic Beasts films, there will not be a fourth entry into this franchise. David Zaslav, the President and CEO of WBD, the studio that owns the movie, confirmed in November 2022 that there were no Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts movies in development.

The Harry Potter franchise as a whole is in a less-than-ideal position. However, WBD hopes that the recent open-world video game Hogwarts Legacy will be critical and audience success. They will likely want to capitalize on this success with a film or TV entry if it is.

Is Fantastic Beasts 4 confirmed?

There are no plans to make a Fantastic Beasts 4, and it looks like this franchise is over. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore did at least end in a rather neat fashion, with everyone involved somewhat aware that the film might be their last.

This intuition proved to be correct, as there is no Fantastic Beasts 4 or Fantastic Beasts 5 in development, with the story of stopping Grindelwald happening off-screen.

Why is Fantastic Beasts canceled?

Looking at the film, it’s clear that there are three main reasons that the franchise was shelved, controversy, poor critical acclaim, and poor performance at the box office. Taking each one in turn, the picture becomes a lot clearer:

  • First up is the controversy, and The Secrets of Dumbledore is knee-deep. WBD firing Johnny Depp as Grindelwald caused a lot of contentious feelings in the fanbase, especially as his defamation trial captivated the attention and began mere days after the film opened in cinemas, meaning these feelings never had a chance to dissipate.
  • J.K. Rowling has divided fans with her opinions on sex and gender, and several reports and viral videos of troubling behavior from Credence actor Ezra Miller were rising. Fans were boycotting the film for any one of these reasons, and the feelings now doubt would have carried over to any sequels.
  • The reviews for the Fantastic Beasts films have also been poor. Looking at Rotten Tomatoes, the first film got a 74% fresh critics rating and a 79% audience rating. The second installment took this off a cliff, with a 36% critics score and a 54% audience score. The Secrets of Dumbledore only barely improved the critic score to 46%, but the audience members that did go and see the film (more on this in a second) gave it a franchise-high rating of 83%. So any other film needed significant quality improvements to bump up its critic’s score.

But this franchise hasn’t just declined in quality; it’s also seen a massive decrease in box office sales. The first film in the franchise brought in a respectable $814 million worldwide, and the second one brought in a still OK $654 million worldwide.

Still, once The Secrets of Dumbledore had completed its worldwide box office run, it had only made $400.5, less than half of the first film. What’s more, this is off a budget of around $200 million, which often doesn’t include marketing costs, when it may be all said and done that the film didn’t make a profit.

This box office blow more than certainly ended any hopes for a fourth film, especially with the new Zaslav wanting to maintain fiscal responsibility at WBD. However, there may be a glimmer of hope for a new entry into the Wizarding World at some point, as he has expressed an openness to developing more Harry Potter content.

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