Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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Fantastic Beasts:
The Crimes of Grindelwald
Fantastic Beasts - The Crimes of Grindelwald Poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Yates
Written byJ. K. Rowling
Based onCharacters
by J. K. Rowling
Produced by
CinematographyPhilippe Rousselot
Edited byMark Day
Music byJames Newton Howard
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 8 November 2018 (2018-11-08) (Paris)
  • 16 November 2018 (2018-11-16) (United States and United Kingdom)
Running time
134 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Budget$200 million[1]
Box office$654.9 million[1]

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a 2018 fantasy film directed by David Yates and written by J. K. Rowling. A joint American and British production, it is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), the second instalment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and the tenth overall in the Wizarding World franchise, which began with the Harry Potter film series. It features an ensemble cast including Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law and Johnny Depp. Set in 1927, it follows Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore as they attempt to take down the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald while facing new threats in a more divided wizarding world.

A second Fantastic Beasts film was announced in October 2014, and in July 2016 Rowling confirmed she had completed the script. Depp was cast in November 2016, causing some controversy due to domestic violence allegations recently made against him. Law signed on in April 2017. Principal photography began in July 2017 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, in England. Filming also took place in London, Switzerland, and Paris, and wrapped in December 2017.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald premiered in Paris on 8 November 2018 and was released worldwide on 16 November 2018, in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX 3D, 4DX, IMAX, and ScreenX formats, by Warner Bros. Pictures.[2] It grossed over $654 million worldwide, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of 2018, but the lowest-grossing instalment of the Wizarding World franchise. It received mixed reviews, with praise for its entertainment value, direction, and performances, but criticism of the "needlessly complicated, low-stakes plot", which some critics felt was "overburdened" with details setting up future sequels.[3]

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was nominated for two awards at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, in the categories of Best Production Design and Best Special Visual Effects.[4] Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is scheduled for release on April 15, 2022.[5]


In 1927, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) transfers the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald to Europe to stand trial, but Grindelwald escapes. Three months later in London, Newt Scamander visits the Ministry of Magic to appeal his international travel ban, and runs into Leta Lestrange, his Hogwarts classmate and the fiancée of his Auror brother Theseus. The Ministry agree to grant Newt's request if he helps Theseus locate Credence Barebone in Paris, but Newt declines after learning he must work with ruthless bounty hunter Gunnar Grimmson. Albus Dumbledore asks Newt to find Credence, believing Credence is Leta's long-lost half-brother, Corvus Lestrange V.

Newt is visited by his American friends Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski, a Muggle, who has regained his memories erased the previous year. Newt is disappointed to learn Queenie's sister Tina Goldstein is seeing someone after mistakenly believing Newt and Leta were engaged. He deduces from Jacob's strange behaviour that Queenie enchanted him into eloping to circumvent MACUSA's ban on marriage between wizards and non-magical people. After Newt lifts the enchantment, Jacob refuses to marry Queenie, fearing the consequences she would face. Queenie leaves to find Tina, who is looking for Credence in Paris, followed by Newt and Jacob.

In Paris, Credence escapes the Circus Arcanus with captive performer Nagini. Searching for Credence's birth mother, they locate half-elf servant Irma Dugard, who brought him to America for adoption. Grimmson, revealed to be a follower of Grindelwald, kills Irma. Tina meets Yusuf Kama, who is also hunting Credence. Newt and Jacob follow Yusuf to Tina, only to find her being held hostage. Yusuf imprisons them as well, explaining he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill his half-brother, whom he believes to be Credence. Unable to find Tina, a distraught Queenie is brought to Grindelwald; knowing Queenie's abilities, he allows her to leave while manipulating her into joining him through her desire to marry Jacob.

Newt and Tina infiltrate the French Ministry of Magic for documents to confirm Credence's identity, but are discovered by Leta and Theseus; Tina and Newt reconcile after he explains he was never engaged to Leta. Their search leads them to the Lestrange family tomb, where they find Yusuf, who reveals that he is carrying out his father Mustafa's request to avenge his mother Laurena: she was kidnapped by Corvus Lestrange IV using the Imperius Curse, and died giving birth to Leta, Yusuf's half-sister. Leta reveals that she unintentionally caused Corvus V’s death: sailing to America, Leta, unable to stand his constant crying, switched her baby brother with another infant, Credence; the ship sank, and Corvus drowned.

The group follow a trail to a rally for Grindelwald's followers, where Queenie is among the attendees and Jacob is looking for her. Grindelwald shows a vision of a future global war, and rails against the laws prohibiting them from preventing such a tragedy. As Theseus and the Aurors surround the rally, Grindelwald prompts his followers to spread his message across Europe, and conjures a ring of blue fire that kills the retreating Aurors and that only his most loyal followers can safely cross. Queenie and Credence cross the fire, while Leta sacrifices herself so the others can escape. As Grindelwald and his followers depart, the remaining wizards and immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel extinguish the fire. Newt chooses to join the fight against Grindelwald.

At Hogwarts, Newt presents Dumbledore with a vial stolen from Grindelwald, containing a blood pact Grindelwald and Dumbledore made in their youth that prevents them dueling each other; Dumbledore believes it can be destroyed. At Nurmengard Castle, his Austrian base, Grindelwald presents Credence with a wand, and reveals Credence’s true identity: Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus' long-lost brother.


Cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con. Seated, from left to right: Eddie Redmayne, Claudia Kim, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Jude Law
  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander:
    A British Ministry of Magic employee in the Beasts Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, as well as a self-proclaimed magizoologist. He played a part in remedying the events of a violent attack on the City of New York in December 1926 involving dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. He is a confidant of Albus Dumbledore, despite being an outcast from certain circles of British Wizarding society due to his checkered past.
    • Joshua Shea portrays a young Newt.[6]
  • Katherine Waterston as Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein:
    A promoted MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) Auror. She played a role in thwarting Gellert Grindelwald during the Obscurus incident of 1926, for which she and Newt were initially blamed.[7]
  • Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald:
    An infamous powerful dark wizard who caused mass violence, terror, and chaos around the globe, seeking to lead a new Wizarding World Order based on his strong belief in wizarding superiority. As a teenager, he and Dumbledore had become lovers. He escapes from the MACUSA in New York and renews his efforts for Pureblood world domination.[7] It was Depp's idea for the character to have heterochromia, as he said he saw Grindelwald as "more than one [...] almost as though he was two people."[8]
  • Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski:
    A No-Maj veteran of World War I and current business owner of a bakery, a friend of Newt's, and the primary love interest to Queenie. It is revealed in The Crimes of Grindelwald that Swooping Evil venom only erases "bad memories", and meeting Newt, Queenie, and Tina and learning of the wonders of Magic is anything but a bad memory for Jacob.
  • Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein:
    The pretty and vivacious younger sister of Tina, who worked alongside her in the Federal Wand Permit Bureau after Tina was once demoted. She is a powerful natural Legilimens and has fallen in love with Jacob Kowalski, despite wizarding laws forbidding relationships with No-Majs.[7]
  • Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone:
    The disturbed adopted child of Mary-Lou Barebone, severely abused and downtrodden. Enraged by people's treatment of him, during the incident of 1926 he set his Obscurus parasite loose on the City of New York, causing widespread destruction. He survived in a tiny Obscurus fragment and is now sought by several different groups.[7]
  • Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange:
    An emotionally damaged and confused young woman who still exerts some control over Newt, who was once, and possibly still is, in love with her. Ostracized by her fellow Hogwarts students, she was befriended by a young Newt. She is descended from a historically wealthy pureblood family infamous for embracing the Dark Arts. She is currently engaged to Theseus Scamander, Newt's brother, and works at the British Ministry of Magic as assistant to Torquil Travers, the Head of Magical Law Enforcement.[11][7]
    • Thea Lamb and Ruby Woolfenden portray younger versions of Leta.
  • Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander:
    Newt Scamander's older brother who works in the Auror Office of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, fought in World War I, and is described as a "war hero". The two brothers share a tentatively warm relationship, slightly marred by their disparate personalities and beliefs. He spent the previous year hunting Grindelwald with a team of British Aurors. Theseus is currently engaged to Leta Lestrange.[11]
  • Claudia Kim as Nagini:
    The main attraction of a wizarding circus and freak show called Circus Arcanus and a Maledictus, who carries a blood curse that will eventually transform her into a snake permanently. For as long as she can remember, Skender has exploited her transformative powers. Nagini befriends Credence Barebone when he works as a menial worker at the circus. Nagini will eventually become the infamous companion of Lord Voldemort.[7][12]
  • William Nadylam as Yusuf Kama:
    A French-Senegalese wizard who has spent many years obsessively searching for Credence and has finally tracked him down in Paris at Circus Arcanus.[13][7]
    • Isaac Domingos portrays a young Yusuf.
  • Kevin Guthrie as Abernathy:
    Tina and Queenie's previous MACUSA supervisor, now a loyal follower of Grindelwald.[13]
  • Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore:
    An extremely influential and powerful wizard in the British Wizarding Community, known in the British Ministry of Magic and throughout the wider wizarding world for his academic brilliance. Currently a professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts[7] at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As a teenager, he and Grindelwald had become "closer than brothers". A strong ally of Newt Scamander's, he is called upon to help resist Grindelwald's reign of terror.

Carmen Ejogo briefly reprises her role as Seraphina Picquery, the President of MACUSA, from the first film. Brontis Jodorowsky portrays Nicolas Flamel, a 14th-century, 600-year-old Parisian scribe and alchemist believed to have discovered the Philosopher's Stone, who is a friend and colleague of Dumbledore. The character was mentioned previously in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.[14] Fiona Glascott portrays a young Minerva McGonagall. Poppy Corby-Tuech portrays Vinda Rosier, Grindelwald's loyal right-hand follower.[14] Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson portrays Grimmson, a powerful bounty hunter. Ólafur Darri Ólafsson portrays Skender, the cruel head and ringmaster of Circus Arcanus.[14] Late French actress Danièle Hugues portrays Irma Dugard, Corvus' half-elf nanny.[15] David Sakurai appears as Krall, Grindelwald's ambitious and sulky henchman.[16] Victoria Yeates portrays Bunty, Newt Scamander's assistant.[17] Jessica Williams portrays Eulalie "Lally" Hicks, a professor of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who contacts Flamel. Isaura Barbé-Brown portrays Laurena Kama, Yusuf Kama and Leta Lestrange's mother.[18] Derek Riddell, Wolf Roth and Cornell John portray Torquil Travers, Spielman and Arnold Guzman, respectively.[12] Keith Chanter plays Corvus Lestrange IV, Corvus V's father.



In October 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that Fantastic Beasts would be "at least" a trilogy, with the first instalment set to be released on 18 November 2016, the second on 16 November 2018, and the third on 20 November 2020. David Yates was confirmed to direct at least the first instalment of the series.[19][20]

In July 2016, Yates confirmed that J. K. Rowling had written the screenplay for the second film and had ideas for the third.[21] Yates talked to Entertainment Weekly about the second film, saying: "we've seen the script for Part 2, for the second movie, which takes the story in a whole new direction – as you should, you don’t want to repeat yourself. The second movie introduces new characters as she builds this part of the Harry Potter universe further. It's a very interesting development from where we start out. The work is pouring out of her."[22]

In October 2016, it was reported that the Fantastic Beasts film series would comprise five films,[23] with Eddie Redmayne returning to play the lead role of Newt Scamander in each film. It was announced that Yates would be returning to direct the sequel for producers Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram, and he said the second film would be set in a different global capital city than the first.[24]


The casting of Johnny Depp (pictured in character as Gellert Grindelwald) received criticism from some fans.[25]

On 1 November 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Johnny Depp had been cast in the film.[26][27] Depp's casting received criticism from some fans, due to domestic violence allegations against him.[28][25] In December 2017, J. K. Rowling posted on her website that she would not recast the role because Depp and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, had previously expressed hope that the mutual agreement they reached would enable both to move on from the controversy and "the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies."[29] About Rowling's response, Depp said in October 2018, "I'll be honest with you, I felt bad for J. K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that."[8]

Jude Law was cast as Albus Dumbledore after director David Yates decided that the character should be played by a younger actor, not Michael Gambon (who played the role in six of the Harry Potter films).[30][27] Many other actors were considered for the role, including Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, and Jared Harris (son of Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films).[31]


The film is set in the UK and Paris.[27] Principal photography began on 3 July 2017 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, in Hertfordshire, England, where a part of Paris was built for the purpose including streets, alleys, and a square. The New York set from the first film had been built in exactly the same spot.[13][32] On 22 September 2017, David Sakurai was cast to play Krall, one of the ambitious and sulky henchman of Grindelwald.[16] Law reportedly finished filming his scenes as Dumbledore in September 2017.[33] On 5 October 2017, several other castings were announced, including Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel and Jessica Williams joining in an undisclosed role.[34] Principal photography wrapped on 20 December 2017.[35]


James Newton Howard confirmed in November 2016 that he would return to compose the music for the film.[36] The soundtrack was released by WaterTower Music on 9 November 2018.[37]


The visual effects were provided by DNEG (Double Negative), Framestore, Method Studios, Image Engine, Milk VFX, Rodeo FX, Nzivage, Proof, The Third Floor, Inc. and Lola Visual Effects, with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) doing the concept design and development and The Visual Effects Company doing the motion capture.[38]


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald had its world premiere at the UGC Ciné Cité Bercy in Paris on 8 November 2018. It was released worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures on 16 November 2018 in IMAX 3D, RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, 4DX, and ScreenX.[39][40][41]

Screenplay book[edit]

As with the previous Fantastic Beasts film, the screenplay by J. K. Rowling was released as a book shortly after the premiere.[42]

Home media[edit]

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was released for digital download on 15 February 2019, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on 12 March 2019.[43]


Box office[edit]

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald grossed $159.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $495.3 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $654.9 million, against a production budget of $200 million.[1] It is the lowest-grossing Wizarding World instalment to-date.

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Instant Family and Widows, and was projected to gross $65–75 million from 4,163 theatres in its opening weekend.[44] The film made $25.7 million on its first day, including $9.1 million from Thursday night previews, an improvement over the first film's $8.75 million. It went on to debut to $62.2 million over the weekend, a 16% drop from the first Fantastic Beasts' $74.4 million, and marking the lowest opening for a film in the Wizarding World franchise. Deadline Hollywood noted that mixed critical reviews and competition in theaters likely hurt the opening weekend figures.[45] In its second weekend, the film dropped 52% to $29.4 million (including $42.9 million over the five-day Thanksgiving frame), finishing fourth at the box office.[46] In its third weekend, the film made $11.4 million, remaining in fourth place.[47]

Internationally, the film was expected to gross an additional $188–205 million from 79 countries, for a global debut of about $250 million.[44][48] It made $10.1 million on its first day of release from 10 countries, including $2.6 million in France and $2 million in South Korea. On its second day of release, the film began to play in 45 other countries and made another $18.4 million, for a two-day gross of $31 million. It also made $12.8 million on its first day in China, the best of any Wizarding World film in the country.[48] It went on to have an international debut of $191 million, for a global total of $253.2 million, a 2.7% improvement over the first film's debut. Its largest markets were China ($37.5 million), the UK ($16.3 million, or £12.7 million) and Germany ($12.8 million). In several countries, it had the best-ever opening for a Wizarding World film, including Russia, Indonesia, Argentina, and Brazil.[49]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 36% based on 325 reviews, with an average rating of 5.30/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has glimmers of the magic familiar to Harry Potter fans, but the story's spell isn't as strong as earlier instalments."[50] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100 based on 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[51] It is the lowest-rated Wizarding World film on both websites.[52][53] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest of the franchise, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 83% positive score and a 69% "definite recommend". Social media monitor RelishMix noted online responses to the film were "mixed".[45]

Andrew Barker of Variety called the film a "cluttered expansion of the Harry Potter franchise" and wrote: "The film throws plenty of plot twists, loud noises, and multihued magical nebulae at us, but rarely is there much tension, or sense of adventure, or any real longing, just the feeling of watching one chess piece after another being moved into position."[54] Critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, praising the performances of Law and Depp, but criticizing the film's excessive plotting, writing: "This Fantastic Beasts film is as watchable and entertaining as expected [...] but some of the wonder, novelty and sheer narrative rush of the first film has been mislaid in favour of a more diffuse plot focus, spread out among a bigger ensemble cast."[55] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave it 3 stars out of 5 and criticized the film for being overlong and exposition heavy, saying it feels "like an overload of homework"; he suggested it was too much for Muggles and best left to fans only.[56] Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "It offers up dazzling feats of sorcery and realms of wonderment [...] and manages to conjure the very opposite of magic." Chang found Newt to be "charmless" and the plot "grindingly complicated", though he welcomed the introduction of Jude Law as Dumbledore.[57]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Visual Effects Society Awards February 5, 2019 Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature Dominik Kirouac, Chloe Ostiguy, Christian Gaumond Nominated [58]
British Academy Film Awards February 10, 2019 Best Production Design Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock Nominated [59]
Best Special Visual Effects Tim Burke, Andy Kind, Christian Manz, and David Watkins Nominated
Saturn Awards September 13, 2019 Best Fantasy Film Nominated [60]


Initially, in October 2014, the studio announced there would be a Fantastic Beasts trilogy. In July 2016, David Yates confirmed that Rowling had written the screenplay for the second film and had ideas for the third.[61] The third film was set to be released on 12 November 2021.[62] In October 2016, Rowling stated that the series would be composed of five films. In October 2019, Dan Fogler said the third film would be filmed in February 2020.[63] In November 2019, it was announced that the screenplay for the third film was written by J. K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, marking his return to the Wizarding World as a writer after only serving as a producer on the first two Fantastic Beasts films.[64] The third film is said to take place in the 1930s, with locations speculated to consist of Berlin, Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[65] On 20 August 2020, filming was announced to be starting in September, having been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic;[66] Eddie Redmayne confirmed on 20 September that filming had been underway for two weeks.[67] On 6 November, Johnny Depp announced he would not reprise his role as Grindelwald;[68] Mads Mikkelsen was announced to have been cast as his replacement on 25 November.[69]



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