With the Harry Potter Franchise Spanning Nearly Three Decades, Many Wonder If It Should Continue
With many prominent franchises giving way to spin-offs and sequels, it has left both fans and critics asking if the prequel Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them should continue or be shelved indefinitely.
Impact on Pop Culture
The Harry Potter franchise is one of the most successful series of all time and continues to permeate pop culture 25 years after the first book, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, was released.
J.K. Rowling’s seven-book series covering the wizarding world is the bestselling book series of all time, selling a total of 600 million copies worldwide and making her the first author ever to become a billionaire. The franchise has not only allowed Rowling to amass a great deal of wealth but also spawned various spin-offs, theme parks, and a prequel series.
Plot of the Prequel
The prequel consists of three films: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022). Each of the three films that have been released covers different aspects of what the wizarding world was like before Harry Potter. Rowling said back in 2016, when the first movie was in production, that the prequel series would consist of five films total, and the timeline between them will be between 1926 and 1945.
The first movie follows the protagonist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who travels to New York City in 1926 with a suitcase that houses various magical creatures and their various habitats. Some of the creatures escape into the city, threatening the exposure of wizards to muggles, which are humans who don’t possess any magical capabilities.
Should the Prequel Continue?
Although it appears that anything connected to the Harry Potter franchise turns to gold, it is worth asking if its prequel series should continue. The Fantastic Beasts film series grossed a combined total of $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office.
However, it is worth noting that each of the three films made less money than their predecessor at the worldwide box office with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them grossing $811,724,385; Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald grossing $648,455,339; and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore grossing only $404,560,145; less than half of the first film’s profit. From a financial standpoint, the prospects of any future film don’t look promising.
Granted, each of the films did well at the box office, given their overall budgets. The first film had a budget of $175 million, with the second and third films each having a budget of $200 million. The films clearly have financial backing as well as a built-in fan base. The question is, do fans want another two films to finish out the prequel?
In recent years, the once-beloved author has come under fire for her comments regarding the transgender community. In late 2019 and early 2020, the author penned several tweets that many deemed offensive and insensitive. One of the author’s tweets read “’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Rowling has been outspoken regarding her beliefs, stating that only biological women should be allowed to use female spaces. This caused an uproar with many of the original Harry Potter cast and fans of the series, making it known they do not agree with the author’s sentiments. However, many of the actors who initially came out against the author have backtracked on their statements, claiming to agree with Rowling in some capacity.
Even with the controversy, the Harry Potter series, along with its various films, has still managed to do well. The series remains the most successful franchise of all time. This is a testament to how popular the franchise is even with the controversy. It’s also important to recognize that because the franchise has been around for more than 25 years, Harry Potter has become nostalgic for many members of the fan base. With the combined nostalgia and impact on pop culture as a whole, many are willing to overlook Rowling’s previous comments and continue to support something they love.
As of 2022, the author has said that the franchise’s completion will depend on how The Secrets of Dumbledore performs commercially with audiences. Given that the latest film had the lowest numbers at the worldwide box office out of the prequel’s three films, the future of the franchise is still up in the air, with no current film regarding the wizarding world currently in production. The original Harry Potter film series can be streamed on HBO Max with the Fantastic Beasts series available to stream on HBO Max and Peacock Premium.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) Official Warner Bros. Trailer