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
Produced by
Written byJ. K. Rowling
Based onCharacters
by J. K. Rowling
Starring
Music byJames Newton Howard
CinematographyPhilippe Rousselot
Edited byMark Day
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 8 November 2018 (2018-11-08) (Paris)
  • 16 November 2018 (2018-11-16) (United Kingdom and United States)
Running time
134 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$200 million[1]
Box office$653.8 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 British and American production, it is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). It is 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. The film features an ensemble cast that includes 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. The plot 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, and Law signed on in April 2017. Principal photography began in July 2017, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Hertfordshire. 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 Real D 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX and ScreenX, by Warner Bros. Pictures.[2] The film grossed $653 million worldwide, becoming the tenth highest-grossing film of 2018 but the lowest-grossing instalment of the Wizarding World franchise. It received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its entertainment value, as well as the direction and performances (particularly from Law and Depp), but criticised the "needlessly complicated, low-stakes plot" while feeling that it 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] An untitled third film is scheduled for release in November 2021.

Plot[edit]

In 1927, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) is transferring the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald to Europe to be tried for his crimes. But Grindelwald escapes with the aid of a former MACUSA employee named Abernathy (appearing as a secondary character in the previous film).

Three months later at the Ministry of Magic in London, Newt Scamander, while working to have his travel ban removed, runs into Leta Lestrange, an old Hogwarts classmate and fiancée to his Auror brother, Theseus. The Ministry agree to grant Newt's request on the condition that he aids Theseus in locating Credence Barebone in Paris. Newt declines after learning he is to work with the Auror Grimmson. Later, after being reprimanded by the Ministry for his recent actions, Albus Dumbledore meets with Newt and is revealed to have indirectly sent his former student to America to release Frank the Thunderbird. Dumbledore requests Newt to reach Paris and save Credence from Grindelwald and the Ministry, both believing him to be Leta's long lost brother Corvus Lestrange.

Newt soon gets an unexpected visit from his American friends Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski, the latter having retained most of the memories that were erased at the end of the previous film. Queenie reveals that Tina is seeing other people after reading an issue of Spellbound magazine that incorrectly reported that Newt was betrothed to Leta. Newt then deduces that Queenie enchanted Jacob into eloping to circumvent the MACUSA's marriage ban between wizards and non-magical humans. After Newt lifts the charm, Jacob rejects the idea of marrying Queenie out of fear of the consequences she would face, which prompts the upset Queenie to leave to find Tina. Newt and Jacob follow her to Paris after learning Tina is there in search of Credence.

In Paris, Tina searches for Credence at the Circus Arcanus. Credence and a female circus freak named Nagini escape after causing a distraction. While searching for Credence's birth mother, he and Nagini locate a half-elf servant called Irma Dugard who placed him for adoption. However Grimmson, who is revealed to be a follower of Grindelwald, arrives and kills Irma. Meanwhile, Tina meets Yusuf Kama, who is also hunting Credence. Newt and Jacob follow Yusuf to Tina, and Yusuf explains that he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill his brother, whom he believes to be Credence. Meanwhile, unable to find Tina, a distraught Queenie is found by one of Grindelwald's followers and brought to him. Grindelwald is aware of Queenie's Legilimens ability, allowing her to leave while manipulating her into joining him in order to marry Jacob.

Newt and Tina infiltrate the French Ministry of Magic for documents to confirm Credence's identity but Leta and Theseus discover them. Newt and Tina reconcile after he explains he was never engaged to Leta. Their search for information about Credence leads them to the Lestrange family tomb, where they find Yusuf. Yusuf reveals that he is carrying out his father's request to avenge the death of his mother Laurena Kama, who was kidnapped by Corvus's father, who used the Imperius Curse on her, and who died giving birth to Corvus' sister, Leta. But Leta reveals that she unintentionally caused her brother's death by switching him with an infant Credence while en route to America. The group then realize they fell into Grindelwald's trap, finding themselves at his rally, where Queenie is among his followers.

At the rally, Grindelwald shows images of an upcoming global war, and rails against the Ministry's laws that prohibit them from preventing such a tragedy from occurring. When Theseus and the Aurors then surround the rally, Grindelwald prompts his followers to disperse across Europe to spread his message. Grindelwald then casts a circle of blue Fiendfire that kills his enemies while allowing his most loyal followers, Credence, and Queenie to join him. Leta sacrifices herself to hold off Grindelwald so Newt, Tina, Jacob, Yusuf, Nagini, and Theseus can escape. As Grindelwald leaves, the remaining heroes unite alongside the immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel to subdue the Fiendfire. Newt realises that he is now embroiled in a conflict with Grindelwald, and can no longer avoid to fight his enemies.

At Hogwarts, Newt gives Dumbledore a vial that his Niffler stole from Grindelwald, revealed to contain a blood pact which Grindelwald and Dumbledore made in their youth that prevents them from dueling each other as Dumbledore believes he can destroy it. At his Nurmengard base in Austria, acting on Queenie's advice to win the youth over, Grindelwald reveals Credence's true identity as Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus' long-lost brother and the only person powerful enough to defeat him.

Cast[edit]

Cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con. From left to right: Eddie Redmayne, Claudia Kim, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Jude Law
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.[5]
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.[6]
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.
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.[6]
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 Grindelwald.[6]
An emotionally damaged and confused young woman who still exerts some control over Newt, who was once in love with her, and possibly still is. Ostracized while a fellow Hogwarts student, 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 is now working at the British Ministry of Magic as the assistant to Torquil Travers, the Head of Magical Law Enforcement.[7][6] Thea Lamb and Ruby Woolfenden both portray young versions of Leta.
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.[7]
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, who works as a menial worker at the circus. Nagini will eventually become the infamous companion of Lord Voldemort.[6][8]
A French-Senegalese wizard who has spent many years obsessively searching for Credence and has finally tracked him down in Paris at Circus Arcanus.[9][6] Isaac Domingos portrays a young Yusuf.
Tina and Queenie's previous MACUSA supervisor, now a loyal follower of Grindelwald.[9]
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[6] at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As a teenager, he and Grindelwald had become friends. A strong ally of Newt Scamander's, he is called to resist Grindelwald's reign of terror. Toby Regbo reprises his role from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 as a young Dumbledore.[10]
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 friends. Escapes from the MACUSA in New York and renews his efforts for Pureblood world domination.[6] It was Depp's idea for the character's heterochromia, saying that he saw Grindelwald as "more than one... almost as though he was two people."[11] Jamie Campbell Bower reprises his role from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 as a young Grindelwald.[12][10]

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.[13] Fiona Glascott portrays a young Minerva McGonagall. Poppy Corby-Tuech portrays Vinda Rosier, Grindelwald's loyal right-hand follower.[13] Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson portrays Grimmson, a powerful bounty hunter. Ólafur Darri Ólafsson portrays Skender, the cruel head and ringmaster of Circus Arcanus.[13] David Sakurai appears as Krall, Grindelwald's ambitious and sulky henchman.[14] Victoria Yeates portrays Bunty, Newt Scamander's assistant.[15] Jessica Williams portrays Eulalie "Lally" Hicks, a professor of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who contacts Flamel. Isaura Barbé-Brown portrays Laurena Kama, Leta Lestrange's mother.[16] Derek Riddell, Wolf Roth and Cornell John portray Torquil Travers, Spielman and Arnold Guzman, respectively.[8]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In October 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures announced the film as "at least" a trilogy with the first installment set to be released on 18 November 2016 followed by the second installment on 16 November 2018 and the third installment on 20 November 2020. David Yates was confirmed to direct at least the first installment of the series.[17][18]

In July 2016, Yates confirmed that J. K. Rowling had written the screenplay for the second film and had ideas for the third.[19] 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."[20] In October 2016, it was reported that the Fantastic Beasts film series would comprise five films, with the second film setting in another global capital city, and Eddie Redmayne would be returning to all films to play the lead role of Newt Scamander.[21] Yates would also return to direct the sequel with producers Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram.[21]

Pre-production[edit]

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

On 1 November 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Johnny Depp had been cast in the film.[22][23] Depp's casting received criticism from some fans, due to domestic violence allegations against him.[24][25] On 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 would enable both to move on from the controversy and that "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."[26] 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."[11]

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).[27][23] 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).[28]

Filming[edit]

The film is set in the United Kingdom and Paris.[23] Principal photography began on 3 July 2017, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Hertfordshire.[9][29] On 22 September 2017, David Sakurai was cast to play Krall, one of the ambitious and sulky henchman of Grindelwald.[14] Law reportedly finished filming his scenes as Dumbledore in September 2017.[30] On 5 October 2017, several other castings were announced, including Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel and Jessica Williams joining in an undisclosed role.[31] Principal photography wrapped on 20 December 2017.[32]

Music[edit]

James Newton Howard confirmed in November 2016 that he would return to compose the music for the film.[33] The soundtrack was released by WaterTower Music on 9 November 2018.[34]

Post-production[edit]

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 for film.[35]

Release[edit]

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, RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema and 4DX.[36][37][38]

Screenplay book[edit]

As for the previous Fantastic Beasts film, the screenplay by J K Rowling was released as a book shortly after the premiere.[39]

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.[40]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald grossed $159.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $494.2 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $653.8 million, against a production budget of $200 million.[1] It is the lowest-grossing Harry Potter installment 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.[41] 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 current competition in theaters likely hurt the opening weekend figures.[42] In its second weekend the film dropped 52% to $29.4 million (including $42.9 million over the five-day Thanksgiving frame), finishing fourth.[43] In its third weekend the film made $11.4 million, remaining in fourth.[44]

Internationally, the film was expected to gross an additional $188–205 million from 79 countries, for a global debut of about $250 million.[41][45] 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.[45] 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.[46]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 302 reviews, with an average rating of 5.29/10. 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 installments."[47] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[48] It is the lowest-rated Wizarding World film on both websites.[49][50] 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".[42]

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."[51] Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw gave the film 3/5 stars, praising Law and Depp's performances, but criticising the film's excessive plotting, and saying:

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Visual Effects Society Awards February 5, 2019 Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature Dominik Kirouac, Chloe Ostiguy, Christian Gaumond Nominated [53]
British Academy Film Awards February 10, 2019 Best Production Design Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock Nominated [54]
Best Special Visual Effects Tim Burke, Andy Kind, Christian Manz, and David Watkins Nominated

Sequels[edit]

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.[55] The third film is set to be released on 12 November 2021.[56] In October 2016, Rowling stated that the series would be composed of five films.[57]

References[edit]

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