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The Crimes of Grindelwald
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Yates|
|Written by||J. K. Rowling|
by J. K. Rowling
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Edited by||Mark Day|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$653.7 million|
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 on the film began at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden in July 2017. Filming also took place in London, Switzerland, and Paris, and ended 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. The film has grossed over $653 million worldwide, making it the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2018, but the lowest total 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.
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. A third untitled film is scheduled to be released in November 2020.
In 1927, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) is transferring the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from their New York maximum security prison to London so he can be tried for his crimes in Europe. Grindelwald escapes during the transfer, aided by his follower and MACUSA employee, Abernathy.
Three months later in London, Newt Scamander appeals to the Ministry of Magic to restore his revoked international travel rights following his misadventure in New York City. While at the Ministry, Newt runs into Leta Lestrange, an old Hogwarts classmate who is engaged to his brother, Theseus, an auror in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The Ministry offers to restore Newt's travel rights if he assists Theseus in locating the obscurial Credence Barebone, who has resurfaced in Paris. They believe Credence may be Leta's long-lost brother, Corvus Lestrange, the last of a long line of pure-blood wizards. Grindelwald believes only Credence can kill his "equal", Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore. Newt, however, declines, refusing to choose a side, and the auror Grimmson is dispatched instead.
After leaving the Ministry, Newt is secretly summoned by Dumbledore, who is under constant Ministry surveillance for refusing to confront Grindelwald (with whom he shared a close personal relationship in their youth). Dumbledore tries to persuade Newt to locate Credence, though Newt does not give him an answer.
After he arrives home, Newt's American friends, Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski, unexpectedly arrive at his house. Jacob's recollections of the New York City incident are mostly intact, as MACUSA's citywide Obliviation order only erased the bad memories of the Muggle witnesses, and his were mostly good. Queenie and Jacob have followed Queenie's sister Tina to Europe, where she is searching for Credence. Newt is unhappy to learn that Tina mistakenly believes he and Leta Lestrange are engaged. Seeing Jacob's odd behaviour, Newt realises that Queenie has enchanted him into eloping to Europe with her to circumvent MACUSA's marriage ban between wizards and muggles. After Newt lifts the charm, Jacob and Queenie quarrel about the marriage law, and an upset Queenie leaves to find Tina. Newt realises Tina is in Paris, and, ignoring the travel ban, he and Jacob follow the sisters to Europe.
In Paris, Tina searches for Credence at a wizarding freak show at the Circus Arcanus. Credence and Nagini, a young female circus attraction who can transform into a snake, escape after causing a distraction. While searching for Credence's birth mother, Credence and Nagini locate the servant who put him up for adoption. However, Grimmson, who is secretly working for Grindelwald, arrives and kills her. Meanwhile, Tina meets Yusuf Kama, who is also hunting Credence. Later, Newt and Jacob also encounter Yusuf and follow him to Tina. Yusuf, revealed to be Leta's maternal half-brother, says he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill Credence, whom he believes is his step-brother, Corvus, and the last of the Lestrange family.
Newt and Tina infiltrate the French Ministry of Magic to retrieve documents confirming Credence's identity. While there, the two reconcile after Tina learns Newt was never engaged to Leta. Leta herself later discovers them and joins the search, which leads them to the Lestrange family tomb in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Leta reveals that Credence cannot be Corvus Lestrange: as a child, she inadvertently caused the death of her infant brother by switching him with baby Credence while on a doomed New York-bound passenger ship, thereby sparing Credence and leaving Corvus presumably drowned. Meanwhile, a fabricated trail has lured Credence to the Lestrange tomb where Grindelwald is holding a rally for his followers. Jacob finds Queenie, now seemingly aligned with Grindelwald, in the audience there.
Grindelwald preaches the abolition of laws concealing wizards from muggles, and utilizes images of the imminent Second World War to justify worldwide wizard supremacy and domination. Aurors surround the rally, led by Theseus, but Grindelwald fends them off while unleashing his emissaries to spread his word across Europe. Grindelwald casts a circle of blue flame to divide followers from enemies. Credence and Queenie cross over to join him, while Leta sacrifices herself to save Newt, Tina, Jacob, Yusuf, Nagini, and Theseus. As Grindelwald escapes, the remaining heroes unite alongside the immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel to fend off a curse that Grindelwald directed at Paris. Seeing the devastation, Newt realizes he must join the fight.
At Hogwarts, Newt gives Dumbledore a vial, secretly taken from Grindelwald, that contains a blood pact that Grindelwald and Dumbledore made as teenagers. Newt correctly surmises that the pact magically prevents the two from combatting each other; Dumbledore believes it may be possible to destroy the pact.
In his base at Nurmengard in Austria, Grindelwald tells Credence that he is actually Albus Dumbledore's long-lost brother, Aurelius, and the only person powerful enough to defeat him. Queenie uses her mind-reading ability to advise Grindelwald on ways to control Credence. A baby bird that Credence had been caring for is revealed to be a phoenix, a bird associated with the Dumbledore family. Grindelwald then provides Credence with his first wand, and the film ends as Credence casts a spell for the first time.
Carmen Ejogo 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. Fiona Glascott portrays a young Minerva McGonagall.
Poppy Corby-Tuech portrays Vinda Rosier, Grindelwald's loyal right-hand follower. Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson portrays Grimmson, a powerful bounty hunter. Ólafur Darri Ólafsson portrays Skender, the cruel head and ringmaster of Circus Arcanus. David Sakurai appears as Krall, Grindelwald's ambitious and sulky henchman. Victoria Yeates portrays Bunty, Newt Scamander's assistant. 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. Derek Riddell, Wolf Roth and Cornell John portray Torquil Travers, Spielman and Arnold Guzman, respectively.
In October 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures announced the film as "at least" a trilogy with the first instalment set to be released on 18 November 2016 followed by the second instalment on 16 November 2018 and the third instalment on 20 November 2020. David Yates was confirmed to direct at least the first instalment of the series.
In July 2016, Yates confirmed that J. K. Rowling had written the screenplay for the second film and had ideas for the third. 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." 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. Yates would also return to direct the sequel with producers Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram.
On 1 November 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Johnny Depp had been cast in the film. Depp's casting received criticism by some fans, due to domestic violence allegations against him. 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." 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."
Jude Law was cast as Albus Dumbledore after director David Yates decided that the role should be played by a younger actor, not Michael Gambon (who played the role in six of the Harry Potter films). A number of other actors were considered, including Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, and Jared Harris (son of Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films).
The film is set in the United Kingdom and Paris. Principal photography began on 3 July 2017, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. On 22 September 2017, David Sakurai was cast to play Krall, one of the ambitious and sulky henchman of Grindelwald. Law reportedly finished filming his scenes as Dumbledore in September 2017. On 5 October 2017, several other castings were announced, including Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel and Jessica Williams joining in an undisclosed role. Principal photography wrapped on 20 December 2017.
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.
As for the previous Fantastic Beasts film, the screenplay by J K Rowling was released as a book shortly after the premiere.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald grossed $159.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $494.1 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $653.7 million, against a production budget of $200 million.
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. 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, 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. In its second weekend the film dropped 52% to $29.4 million (including $42.9 million over the five-day Thanksgiving frame), finishing fourth. In its third weekend the film made $11.4 million, remaining in fourth.
Internationally, the film was expected to gross an additional $188–205 million from 79 countries, for a global debut of about $250 million. 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. 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. Despite its successful box office run, Crimes Of Grindelwald is the lowest-grossing Harry Potter related film (all the others have grossed more than $790 million worldwide).
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 294 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." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". It is the lowest-rated Wizarding World film on both websites. 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".
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." 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, "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."
|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|||
|British Academy Film Awards||February 10, 2019||Best Production Design||Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock||Nominated|||
|Best Special Visual Effects||Tim Burke, Andy Kind, Christian Manz, and David Watkins||Nominated|
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. The third film is set to be released on 20 November 2020. In October 2016, Rowling stated that the series would be composed of five films.