Fantastic Beasts 4 Reportedly Hinges on Secrets of Dumbledore’s Performance

As Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore nears its stateside release, the future of the Harry Potter prequel series is reportedly up in the air.

According to Variety, while the Fantastic Beasts series was previously announced as being a five-film saga, sources have confirmed that there is currently no screenplay for Fantastic Beasts 4. Furthermore, executives at Warner Bros. Pictures are "waiting to see how The Secrets of Dumbledore is received before giving films four and five the greenlight [sic]."

Despite the pedigree of the Harry Potter franchise, the third Fantastic Beasts film is facing an uphill battle at the box office. The Secrets of Dumbledore is expected to bring in between $100 million and $140 million domestically, which would make it the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film yet. The film already had the lowest international opening for the franchise, earning $58 million from 22 oversees markets over the weekend of April 8.

Variety also notes the various controversies the Fantastic Beasts franchise has had to contend with, such as Johnny Depp (who played antagonist Gellert Grindelwald in the first two films) being forced to exit the franchise after losing his libel lawsuit against the British tabloid The Sun. Meanwhile, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has continued to garner criticism for her controversial views on gender identity, while Fantastic Beasts actor Ezra Miller has faced legal troubles of their own. Then, there's the matter of Discovery's acquisition of WarnerMedia, which has seen WarnerMedia chairman Ann Sarnoff -- who oversaw the Harry Potter franchise -- depart the company.

The Fantastic Beasts series began in November 2016 with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a film set several decades prior to the events of the Harry Potter series. The film was a box office success, making $814 worldwide, and was met with mostly positive reviews, currently holding an approval rating of 74 percent and the "Certified Fresh" distinction on Rotten Tomatoes. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was originally announced as the start of a trilogy, though one month before the film's release, it was announced that the new series would actually consist of five films.

The series' second film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, released in theaters in 2018.It made $655 million worldwide against a budget of $200 million, making it the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film to date. The Crimes of Grindelwald is also far and away the worst-reviewed Harry Potter film to date, currently holding an approval rating of 36 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Secrets of Dumbledore released in the United Kingdom on Friday, April 8 -- one week ahead of its United States premiere on Friday, April 15. Thus far, the Fantastic Beasts threequel has been met with lukewarm reviews, though has decidedly been better received than The Crimes of Grindelwald, currently holding a 58 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore releases in theaters in the U.S. on April 15.

Source: Variety, via Twitter

Hannibal Mads Mikkelsen
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