“Harry Potter” is one of the most beloved film franchises of all time and one of the most lucrative IPs of Warner Bros. The eight Harry Potter films were all critically acclaimed and financially successful. Those films were loved by audiences, especially children and teenagers, all across the globe. After the eight-film run of the Harry Potter films was over, “Fantastic Beasts” films were released under the “Wizarding World” umbrella. But those films neither pleased the critics nor attracted audiences, resulting in a lower box office than the Potter films, which poses an uncertain future for the franchise.
History Of The Harry Potter Film Franchise
The films are based on J.K. Rowling’s world-famous novels of the same name. The franchise kicked off with “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in 2001. Seven more films were released after this, and all of them were box-office hits. Those eight films brought $7.7 billion for Warner Bros, which is almost $1 billion per film on average, which is a humongous box office collection given the fact that those films were released at a time when ticket rates were lower, 3D was not yet mainstream, and social media chatter was not a prominent thing at all.
|Philosopher’s Stone||2001||$1 Billion|
|Chambers of Secret||2002||$880 Million|
|Prisoner of Azkaban||2004||$797 Million|
|Goblet of Fire||2005||$896 Million|
|Order of the Phoenix||2007||$942 Million|
|Half- Blood Prince||2009||$934 Million|
|Deathly Hallows – Part 1||2010||$977 Million|
|Deathly Hallows – Part 2||2011||$1.34 Billion|
The Harry Potter films were not only box office hits, but also were critically acclaimed. Six of those eight films received a total of 12 nominations at the Oscars.
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score||Oscar Nominations|
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone||81%||Art Direction,Costume Design,Original Score|
|Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets||83%|
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||90%||Original Score,Visual Effects|
|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||88%||Art Direction|
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||78%|
|Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince||83%||Cinematography|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1||77%||Art Direction,Visual Effects|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2||96%||Makeup,Visual Effects|
Departure From The Harry Potter Films And Expanding The Franchise
After the Harry Potter films were over, Warner Brothers were looking to expand the Wizarding World franchise. In October 2016, Rowling announced that they would be doing Fantastic Beasts films, a pentalogy which would follow the journey of the lead character ‘Newt Scamander’ from 1926 and will be centered around magical creatures, and will also showcase the conflict between Hogwarts professor Dumbledore and evil wizard Grindelwald, and their final showdown in 1945.
David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films, was brought in to direct the Fantastic Beasts films. As these films were not adaptations of any pre-written books, J.K. Rowling took on the screenwriting responsibility herself. The first film in the franchise, named “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” was released in November 2016. The film was an instant critical and financial hit. The second film was given the go-ahead immediately after its success and was released in November 2018. And that is when things started to go downhill for this prestigious franchise. The sequel, named “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” got negative reviews from critics and audiences. The film not only got the lowest “Rotten Tomatoes” score of the entire franchise but also marked the first “Wizarding World” flop. It barely broke even at the box office, & was the lowest of the franchise at that time. Still, the third film was given the go-ahead, but the situation got even worse. The film was already getting so much backlash even before its release due to accusations against actor Johnny Depp and controversy surrounding writer and co-producer J.K. Rowling. Warner Bros. had to fire Johnny, despite the fact that he had shot a few scenes for the third film already and replaced him with Mads Mikkelsen for the role of Grindelwald. After multiple pushbacks due to the pandemic, the third film, titled “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” was finally released on April 20, 2022. Rowling had a screenwriting assistant for this film (Steve Kloves), but even he could not save the film. The film got a mixed reception and was the first Wizarding World film to flop at the box office. Fans blamed Rowling’s poor screenwriting and director David Yate’s slow-paced directing style for these back-to-back failures.
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes score||Box Office Collection|
|Fantastic Beasts and where to find them||74%||$814 Million|
|Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald||36%||$655 Million|
|Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore||46%||$407 Million|
The Future Of Harry Potter Franchise
In February 2022, before the release of ‘Secrets of Dumbledore,’ the producer of all the ‘Wizarding World films, Mr. David Heyman, revealed that work on the script for “Fantastic Beasts 4” had not begun at that time. Two months later, in April, “Variety” reported that Warner Bros. giving the go-ahead for the final two films would be dependent on the critical and commercial performance of “The Secrets of Dumbledore.” And now we know that the film is a critical and financial failure. In November 2022, it was reported that “Discovery” (which now owns Warner Bros.) is not actively planning to continue the Fantastic Beasts film series. In a recent interview with NME, lead actor Eddie Redmayne confirmed that Fantastic Beasts is not something that is on the cards.
The director of the first two Harry Potter films, Mr. Chris Columbus, expressed his interest in directing the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” with the original cast. Although whether the original cast will ever return for “Cursed Child” or any other future Harry Potter films is still unclear, A new rumor is circulating that the Harry Potter film franchise could undergo a full-blown reboot. According to Valliant Renegade and WDW Pro, Discovery is seriously considering rebooting the Harry Potter franchise, which would involve the recasting of the franchise’s iconic characters like Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
On the television side of things, it was reported in January 2021 that the studio was reviewing pitches for a television series to debut on HBO Max (the streaming platform of Warner Bros. Discovery). In May 2022, a few reports circulated about a meeting between Discovery CEO David Zaslav and creator J.K. Rowling for discussion regarding the future HBO Max projects set within the Wizarding World.
Most Harry Potter fans are demanding the studio explore the founding members of Hogwarts in films. Some fans are also wishing to see the adventures of the “Marauders.” So, among these two routes and the complete reboot, in which direction the studio takes the Harry Potter franchise remains to be seen.