The third Fantastic Beasts film, directed by J.K. Rowling, had the lowest opening weekend in the Harry Potter franchise.

The domestic box office for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was $43 million over the weekend, a franchise low for Harry Potter films.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to the Find Them bring declining returns at the movie office. According to Variety, The Secrets of Dumbledore, the third installment in the Harry Potter prequel series, had the lowest North American opening weekend of the Wizarding World franchise to date, with an estimated $43 million. Fantastic Beasts and Where to the Find Them grossed $74 million domestically in 2016, while The Crimes of Grindelwald grossed $62 million in 2018.

Secrets of Dumbledore also performs poorly compared to other recent releases, such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which launched at $71 million earlier this month, and The Batman, which debuted at $134 million.

According to Variety, secrets of Dumbledore has done marginally better internationally, with the film generating $150.4 million so far. Secrets of Dumbledore has generated $14.7 million in China, where some speech involving Albus Dumbledore’s former gay romance was cut to comply with Chinese regulation of LGBTQ+ content for the film’s release. According to the publication, the pandemic has forced the closure of half of the country’s movie theatres.

Johnny Depp withdrew from his role as villain Gellert Grindelwald in November 2020 after losing a libel case in United Kingdom against The Sun over a headline calling him a “wife-beater” when discussing suspected domestic violence against ex-wife Amber Heard. The role was recast with the Mads Mikkelsen, who made his debut as Dumbledore in the film Secrets of Dumbledore.

The Hollywood Reporter recently asked Mikkelsen why Grindelwald’s apparent change in appearance isn’t addressed in the film: “That was done on purpose. Everyone understands why [the actors’ roles were switched]. The entire globe is aware of the reason. Remind us that we switched actors would almost be like an Easter egg to reality. We’re hoping that they’ll accept this reality by dragging people in with the opening scene.” Ezra Miller, who plays Credence Barebone in the Fantastic Beasts films, was recently arrested in Hawaii, just days before the third film was supposed to be released.

The author of the Harry Potter books and the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts films, J.K. Rowling, has become divisive figure due to her outspoken views on transgender rights and feminism. Late this month, she attended the red carpet premiere of Secrets of Dumbledore in London. Longtime Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves was brought back to co-write the third Fantastic Beasts picture after penning the first two solo.

Rowling previously stated that she plans for Fantastic Beasts to be a five-film series; however, Warner Bros. has yet to confirm the fourth installment.Secrets of Dumbledore stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Jude Law as a teenage Dumbledore, Alison Sudol, Jessica Williams, Dan Fogler, and Callum Turner, and is directed by David Yates (who has directed every Potter film since 2007’s Order of the Phoenix).

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