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 $568 million worldwide and 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.
In 1927, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) is transferring the powerful dark wizardGellert Grindelwald from their maximum security prison to London to 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 international travel rights, which were revoked 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 will restore Newt's travel rights if he assists Theseus in locating the Obscurial Credence Barebone, who has resurfaced in Paris. It is suspected that Credence is 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 sides, and the auror Grimmson is dispatched instead. After leaving the Ministry, Newt is secretly summoned by Dumbledore who persuades Newt to locate Credence. Dumbledore is under constant Ministry surveillance for refusing to confront Grindelwald; as youths, they shared a close relationship and vowed never to fight each other.
Newt's American friends, Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski, unexpectedly arrive at his house. Most of Jacob's memories from the New York City incident have been retained, as the MACUSA's citywide Obliviation order only erased Muggles' bad memories while his were mostly good. Queenie and Jacob have followed her sister, Tina, to Europe where she is searching for Credence. Newt learns that Tina mistakenly believes he and Leta Lestrange are betrothed. Newt suspects that Queenie has enchanted Jacob 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 marrying, and an upset Queenie leaves to find Tina. Newt determines Tina is in Paris, and, ignoring the travel ban, he and Jacob follow the sisters.
In Paris, Tina searches for Credence at a wizarding freak show at the Circus Arcanus. Credence and Nagini, a young female circus attraction who transforms into a snake, escape after causing a distraction. While searching for Credence's birth mother, Credence and Nagini locate the servant who put Credence 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. Newt and Jacob encounter Yusuf and follow him to Tina. Yusuf, Leta's maternal half-brother, says he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill Credence, whom he believes is his step-brother 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, Newt and Tina reconcile after she learns he was never engaged to Leta. Theseus and Leta discover them and join the search, which leads to the Lestrange family tomb in the Père Lachaise cemetery. Leta reveals that Credence cannot be her brother: as a child, she inadvertently caused her infant brother Corvus' death by switching him with baby Credence while on a New York-bound passenger ship that sank mid-voyage, thereby sparing Credence. 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.
During the rally, Grindelwald preaches abolishing laws concealing wizards from muggles, and utilizes future World War II images to justify worldwide wizard supremacy and domination. Led by Theseus, aurors surround the rally, but Grindelwald fends them off while sending his emissaries across Europe to spread his message. 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 bolts, the remaining heroes unite alongside the immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel to defeat Grindelwald. Newt realises he must join the fight.
At Hogwarts, Newt gives Dumbledore a vial taken from Grindelwald that contains the blood pact the teen-aged Grindelwald and Dumbledore made together. Newt correctly surmises that the pact magically prevents Dumbledore and Grindelwald from combating each other; Dumbledore believes it may be possible to destroy the pact.
Hidden in Austria at his Nurmengard base, Grindelwald reveals Credence's true identity as Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus' long-lost brother and the only person powerful enough to defeat him. Queenie uses her mind-reading ability to advise Grindelwald on controlling Credence. A baby bird that Credence had been caring for is revealed to be a phoenix, a bird associated with the Dumbledore family.
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 confidante 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.
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.
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 before having his memory obliviated following Grindelwald's attack on New York.
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.
The disturbed adopted child of Mary-Lou Barebone, severely abused and downtrodden. Enraged by people's treatment of him and Grindelwald's betrayal, he set his Obscurus parasite loose on the City of New York, causing widespread death and destruction. He was eventually "destroyed" by MACUSA officials, although a tiny Obscurus fragment escaped. Credence now has complete control over his Obscurus.
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. After she once risked the life of a fellow Hogwart's student, Newt took the blame for the misdemeanor, protecting her but resulting in him being ostracized from some British wizarding society. 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. 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.
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, as well as his final Horcrux that is destroyed by Neville Longbottom.
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. Isaac Domingos portrays a young Yusuf.
Kevin Guthrie as Abernathy: Tina and Queenie's previous MACUSA supervisor who is revealed to be a follower of 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. One summer, he shared a deep and mysterious relationship with Albus Dumbledore when they were teenagers, until tragedy struck. He wreaked havoc across Europe before being captured by MACUSA in New York. 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."Jamie Campbell Bower reprises his role from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 as young Grindelwald.
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 reconsider recasting 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."
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 of 9 December 2018[update], Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has grossed $145.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $423.3 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $568.5 million, against a production budget of $200 million. According to Screen Rant, the film needed to gross at least $400 million worldwide in order to break-even.
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 the lackluster critical reviews and lack of desire from audiences to see a five-film series, as well as 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 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.
On the review aggregatorRotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 38% based on 265 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. 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 53 out of 100, based on 47 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." Sarah Murphy of Exclaim found the film politically relevant, writing, "With the two worlds on the precipice of war, Grindelwald is depicted as a power-hungry populist in an extremely politically divisive time. It's too close to real life to not be terrifying."
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.