“Fantastic Beasts” Franchise Desperately Needs to Conjure New Harry Potter Fans

Soft box office win shows magic may be fading from J.K. Rowling's cinematic world.

Fantastic Beasts
EDDIE REDMAYNE as Newt Scamander in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy adventure "FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.)

The magic may not be gone from the Harry Potter film franchise, but the soft box office win of the latest installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, shows fewer movie-goers are falling under its spell.

Debuting with $62 million is fine for a muggle movie, but not so much for J.K. Rowling’s cinematic saga, and marks a huge drop from the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — a sort of prequel to the original Harry Potter films.

Part of the problem is that the core audience still is the original generation that read the Potter books as children twenty years ago.

“The lower than expected start displays that beyond die-hard fans, the Wizarding World has struggled to entice a new wave of Potterheads,” writes Variety‘s Rebecca Rubin. “Unless the fantastical saga can prove its relevance to younger audiences, Warner Bros. might find that each new installment in the intended five-film franchise represents a case of diminishing returns.”

It didn’t help that the latest Fantastic Beasts did not get fantastic reviews, Rubin explains, or that the movie is too dark and dense for kids to appreciate.

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