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|Fantastic Beasts and
Where to Find Them
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Yates|
|Screenplay by||J. K. Rowling|
|Based on||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J. K. Rowling
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Edited by||Mark Day|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$814 million|
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 British-American fantasy film directed by David Yates. A spin-off of the Harry Potter film series, it was produced and written by J. K. Rowling in her screenwriting debut, and inspired by her 2001 book of the same name. The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, Ron Perlman and Colin Farrell in supporting roles. It is the first instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series, and the ninth overall in J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World, the franchise that began with the Harry Potter films.
Principal photography began at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in August 2015, and was completed in January 2016. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiered in New York City on 10 November 2016 and was released worldwide on 18 November 2016 in 3D, IMAX 4K Laser and other large format cinemas. The film received positive reviews from critics and grossed $814 million worldwide, making it the eighth highest-grossing film of 2016. The film was nominated for five BAFTAs, winning for Best Production Design, as well as two Academy Awards, winning Best Costume Design, becoming the first film in J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World to win an Academy Award.
In 1926 the British wizard and "magizoologist" Newt Scamander arrives by ship to New York en route to Arizona. He encounters Mary Lou Barebone, a No-Maj woman who leads the New Salem Philanthropic Society, which claims that witches and wizards are real and dangerous. As Newt listens to her speech, a Niffler (a small, mole-like creature with an obsessive desire to steal all things shiny) escapes from his magically expanded suitcase, which houses multiple magical creatures. As Newt attempts to capture the Niffler, he meets Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj cannery worker and aspiring baker, and they accidentally swap suitcases. Demoted Auror Tina Goldstein arrests Newt for being an unregistered wizard and takes him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, hoping to regain her former position. However, Jacob's suitcase contains only baked goods, and Newt is released. At Jacob's tenement apartment, several creatures escape from Newt's suitcase.
After Tina and Newt find Jacob and the suitcase, Tina takes them to her apartment and introduces them to Queenie, her Legilimens sister. Queenie and Jacob are mutually attracted, though American wizards are forbidden to marry or even socially interact with No-Majs. Newt takes Jacob inside his magically expanded suitcase, where Jacob encounters a contained Obscurus, a dark, destructive parasite that develops inside magically gifted children if they suppress their magical abilities. Newt extracted it from a young girl who died; those afflicted rarely living past the age of ten. Newt persuades Jacob to help search for the missing creatures. After re-capturing two of the three escaped beasts, they re-enter the suitcase, which Tina takes to MACUSA. Officials arrest them, believing one of Newt's beasts is responsible for killing Senator Henry Shaw Jr. They decide to destroy Newt's suitcase and erase Jacob's recent memories. Director of Magical Security Percival Graves accuses Newt of conspiring with the infamous dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Newt and Tina are sentenced to immediate death, but a bowtruckle named Pickett frees them while Queenie rescues Jacob, retrieves Newt's suitcase, and escape. Thanks to the help of Goblin gangster Gnarlack, Tina's old informant, the foursome then find and re-capture the last of the creatures.
Meanwhile, Percival Graves approaches Credence Barebone, Mary Lou's adopted son, and offers to free him from his abusive mother. In exchange, he wants Credence to find an Obscurus. Graves believes it has caused the mysterious destructive incidents around the city. Credence finds a wand under his adopted sister Modesty's bed. Mary Lou assumes it is Credence's wand, but Modesty claims it is hers. When she is about to be punished, the Obscurial is unleashed, killing everyone except Modesty and Credence. Graves arrives and dismisses Credence as being a Squib, a non-magical person of wizard ancestry, and refuses to teach him magic. Credence reveals he is the Obscurus's host, having lived longer than any other host due to the intensity of his magic. In a rage, he unleashes the Obscurus upon the city.
Newt finds Credence hiding in a subway tunnel near the City Hall station, but he is attacked by Graves. Tina, who knows Credence, arrives and attempts to calm him, while Graves tries to convince Credence to listen to him. As Credence begins to settle into human form, Aurors arrive. They seemingly disintegrate Credence to protect the magical society, but a tiny Obscurus fragment escapes. Graves admits to unleashing the Obscurus to expose the magical community to the No-Majs and framing Newt for it, and angrily claims that MACUSA protects the No-Majs more than themselves. After being subdued by one of Newt's beasts, he is revealed as Grindelwald in disguise and is taken into custody by MACUSA.
MACUSA fears their secret world has been exposed, but Newt releases his Thunderbird to disperse a poultice as rainfall over the city that erases all New Yorkers' recent memories as MACUSA wizards repair the destruction. Queenie kisses Jacob goodbye as the rain erases his memories. Newt departs for Europe, but promises to return and visit Tina when his book is finished; he also anonymously leaves Jacob a case of silver Occamy eggshells to fund his bakery. His breads and pastries are unknowingly inspired by Newt's creatures, and Queenie visits him in his shop.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is mentioned several times as a school textbook in the Harry Potter book series, although Scamander himself does not appear in any of the books. In 2001 Rowling published an edition of the "textbook" to be sold to raise money for the British charity Comic Relief. The book is a directory of magical creatures written with an introduction by its author Newt Scamander; it does not contain a storyline narrative. (In literature, the creation of such a long work not part of a novel's narrative storyline is known as a false document.)
First announced in September 2013, the project marks Rowling's debut as a screenwriter. The film sees the return of producer David Heyman, as well as writer Steve Kloves, both veterans of the Potter film franchise. After Alfonso Cuarón declined involvement, Warner Bros. announced that David Yates would direct at least the first instalment of a planned trilogy. James Newton Howard was contracted to compose the score.
Principal photography commenced on 17 August 2015, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. Several scenes were also shot on location in London. After two months, the production moved to St George's Hall in Liverpool, which was transformed into 1920s New York City. Framestore in London produced the visual effects for the film.
On 9 April 2016, it was announced that James Newton Howard would write and compose the film's score. On 24 October, Pottermore published an official first look at the film's main theme composed by Howard. The main theme incorporated John Williams' themes from earlier films, such as "Hedwig's Theme". The soundtrack was released by WaterTower Music on 18 November 2016.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them held its world premiere at Alice Tully Hall in New York City on 10 November 2016. The film was released worldwide on 18 November 2016, in 2D, 3D and the new IMAX 4K Laser system. It would premiere one day earlier in a number of other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany and Italy, on 17 November. The film will be released in a total of 1,028 IMAX screens worldwide (388 screens in the United States and Canada, 347 screens in China, 26 screens in Japan and 267 screens in other countries). This marked the second time – after Doctor Strange – that a film secured a release in over 1,000 IMAX screens worldwide.
A "story pack" based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released for the video game Lego Dimensions by WB Games and TT Games. The pack includes a constructible model of MACUSA, figures of Newt Scamander and a Niffler, and a six-level game campaign that adapts the film's events. The pack was released on the same day as the film, alongside a "fun pack" containing figures of Tina Goldstein and a Swooping Evil. The cast of the film reprises their roles in the game.
On 4 November 2015, Entertainment Weekly released the first official publicity shots of the film, containing pictures of characters Newt, Tina, and Queenie, and production and filming being held in various sets designed to mirror 1920s New York City. On 10 December 2015, it was announced that an "announcement trailer" would be released five days later, on 15 December. Along with the one-minute trailer, a teaser poster was released.
During "A Celebration of Harry Potter" at Universal Orlando Resort in February 2016, a featurette was released showcasing several interviews with various cast and crew members, as well as the first official behind-the-scenes footage. On 10 April 2016, the first "teaser trailer" was released during the MTV Movie Awards. On 10 August, more information and publicity shots for the film were released through Entertainment Weekly, with new information on Ezra Miller's character Credence Barebone and the news that Zoe Kravitz would have a role in the series. New images released include the quartet running down a New York City alleyway, David Yates chatting to stars Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne on the set in front of a blown out Subway station, Colin Farrell's character Percival Graves interrogating an arrested and handcuffed Newt, and Graves and Credence putting up anti-magic propaganda.
On 26 April 2016, it was announced that the film's script would be released in the form of a book on 19 November. The book, titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, was written by Rowling herself. In an effort to avoid revealing plot details before the film's release, the novelization of the film was released the following day of the film's premiere, on 19 November 2016.
On 7 March 2016 a trailer-preview was released about the History of Magic in North America as it is in the Harry Potter universe. On 7 October 2016, Rowling also released on Pottermore four pieces of writing exclusively as an introduction to the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, titled History of Magic in North America. It includes information about scourers in North America, brutal and violent magical mercenaries who played a significant role in the historic Salem witch trials of the 1600s, as well as info about various American wand makers; the role magic played in World War I; Native American magic; the foundation of MACUSA; the harsh enforcement No-Maj/Wizarding segregation; and life in 1920s Wizarding America; with info about wand permits and prohibition.
On 28 June 2016, Rowling released a second part to her History of Magic in North America series, concerning the fictitious Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, detailing the founding of the pre-eminent American Wizarding academy and allowing users to sort themselves into one of the four houses of the school. The school itself is mentioned in the film.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them grossed $234 million in the United States and Canada and $580 million in other countries for a total of $814 million. The film was made on a budget of $180 million, with an additional $150 million spent on marketing. Worldwide, the film grossed $219.9 million during its opening weekend from around 64 markets in 24,200 screens, both the fifth biggest in Rowling's wizarding cinematic universe and the of the year, and the seventh-biggest of the month of November. IMAX totalled $15 million from 605 screens. Deadline.com calculated the net profit of the film to be $164 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film, making it the 9th most profitable release of 2016.
Fantastic Beasts went on general release in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 18 November 2016. It debuted with £15.33 million ($19.15 million) from 666 cinemas, the biggest debut of any film this year, ahead of the previous record holder, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (£14.62 million). The film was surpassed during the last days of 2016 by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which gained over one million pounds.
In the United States and Canada, tracking had the film grossing $68–85 million in its opening weekend, with some estimates going as high as $100 million. The film was released on 18 November in 4,143 cinemas, of which 388 were IMAX screens, and over 3,600 were showing the film in 3D. It grossed $29.7 million on its first day, the second-lowest opening day among Rowling's adaptations (behind the $29.6 million Friday of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). This included $8.75 million it earned from Thursday night preview screenings beginning at 6 pm in 3,700 cinemas. In total, the film earned $74.4 million in its opening weekend, falling in line with projections and finishing first at the box office, but recorded the lowest opening among Rowling's Harry Potter universe. It made $8 million from 388 IMAX screens, $9 million from 500 premium large format locations and $1.75 million from Cinemark XD.
The film's opening was considered a hit taking into account how the story was not based on a popular existing source, and the film itself was void of the franchise's main character, Harry Potter. It was the top choice among moviegoers, representing 47% of the weekend's total $157.6 million tickets sales. On its second Friday, it had a gradual drop of 37% ($18.5 million) from the week before, the second best Friday drop for any Harry Potter film, behind The Philosopher's Stone. This was in part due to Black Friday, the most lucrative day of the Thanksgiving Day stretch. It ended up grossing $45.1 million in its second weekend (a drop of just 39.4%), finishing 2nd at the box office behind newcomer Moana.
Outside North America, the film debuted day-and-date in 63 countries, along with its North American release, where it was projected to gross $90–125 million in its opening weekend. It opened 16 November 2016 in 9 countries, earning $6.9 million from 5,070 screens. It opened in 38 more countries on 18 November, earning $16.6 million for a total of $23.5 million in two days. In three days, it made $53.6 million. Through Sunday, 20 November, the film had a five-day opening weekend of $145.5 million from 63 countries, which is way above the initial projections. It earned another $132 million in its second weekend after a large debut in China and Japan.
It recorded the biggest opening day of all-time among the Harry Potter franchise in Korea ($1.7 million), the UAE ($429,000) and Ukraine, the second biggest in Mexico ($1.8 million), Russia and the CIS ($1.7 million), Brazil ($1.3 million) and in Indonesia ($480,000), all behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and the third biggest in the United Kingdom ($5.4 million), behind Part 1 and Part 2. It also scored the second biggest Warner Bros. opening of all-time in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Notably, France opened with $1.8 million, Spain with $1.4 million, and Germany with $1 million ($2 million including paid previews). In terms of opening weekend, the film posted the biggest opening among the Harry Potter franchise in 16 markets, including South Korea ($14.2 million, also the third-biggest opening for the studio), Russia ($9.8 million) and Brazil ($6.4 million), the biggest opener of the year in Germany ($10.2 million), Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland and the biggest Warner Bros. debut in those along with France ($10.2 million), Holland and Denmark. Italy debuted with $6.6 million, the biggest for a U.S. film in the country. Australia opened with $7.4 million, followed by Mexico ($5.8 million) and Spain ($4.5 million).
It opened in China on 25 November alongside Disney's animated Moana but didn't face significant competition from it. It earned $11.2 million on its opening day from 11,600 screens, the best among the Rowlings cinematic universe. In total, it had an opening weekend of $41.1 million, dominating 60% of the top five films with 70,000 screenings per day. This alone surpassed the entire lifetime total of all Harry Potter films save the last one. Similarly in Japan – typically the biggest or second biggest market for the previous Harry Potter films – it debuted with $15.5 million, besting the total lifetime of all the previous films except for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
The film also set a number of IMAX records. In total, the opening weekend was worth $7 million from 276 screens, which is the second-highest ever in the Wizarding World, behind Deathly Hallows – Part 2. In 33 territories, it opened at number one. Moreover, it's also the third highest-grossing November international IMAX opening ever, and the No. 1 start for IMAX in November in 19 countries including Japan ($1.1 million), the UK, Russia, Germany, and the Netherlands. In China, it had the biggest IMAX opening among the franchise with $5.1 million from 347 IMAX screens. Overall, the film has earned a global cumulative total of $19.1 million from the format.
It has become the highest-grossing film in Rowling's cinematic universe in Russia ($16.7 million) and the second-highest in South Korea ($24.6 million). China ($41.1 million) the United Kingdom ($37.6 million), followed by Germany ($18.4 million), France ($16.7 million), and Spain ($13.3 million) are the film's biggest earning markets.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes sampled 271 critics and judged 73% of the reviews as positive, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spinoff that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own." Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating to reviews, gives the film a score 66 out of 100, based on 50 critics, indicating mostly favourable reviews. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film five out of five stars, hailing it as "a rich, baroque, intricately detailed entertainment" and a "terrifically good-natured, unpretentious and irresistibly buoyant film". NME's Larry Bartleet also gave it five stars, calling it "more enchanting to your inner kid than the Potter films ever were". IndieWire's Eric Kohn gave the film a B+ saying that it "delivers the most satisfying period fantasy since Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ", and that its layers of sophistication made it one of the best Hollywood blockbusters of the year.
Mike Ryan of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, writing "Newt Scamander is nothing like Harry, but it has to be this way. It all has to be different. And it is, but, again, with just enough 'sameness' to make us feel like we are at home again. I'm looking forward to wherever these movies are taking us". John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film is "likely to draw in just about everyone who followed the Potter series and to please most of them". New York Magazine's David Edelstein deemed the film a "distinctly unmagical slog", remarking that the beasts "aren’t especially fantastic and the effects are too blandly corporate to be exhilarating".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result||Ref(s)|
|Academy Awards||26 February 2017||Best Production Design||Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock||Nominated|||
|Best Costume Design||Colleen Atwood||Won|
|Art Directors Guild Awards||11 February 2017||Excellence in Production Design for a Fantasy Film||Stuart Craig||Nominated|||
|British Academy Film Awards||12 February 2017||Best British Film||David Heyman, Steve Kloves, J. K. Rowling, Lionel Wigram and David Yates||Nominated|||
|Best Production Design||Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Colleen Atwood||Nominated|
|Best Special Visual Effects||Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz and David Watkins||Nominated|
|Best Sound||Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson and Ian Tapp||Nominated|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||21 February 2017||Excellence in Fantasy Film||Colleen Atwood||Nominated|||
|Critics Choice Awards||11 December 2016||Best Art Direction||Stuart Craig, James Hambidge and Anna Pinnock||Nominated|||
|Best Costume Design||Colleen Atwood||Nominated|
|Best Hair and Makeup||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nominated|
|Diversity in Media Awards||15 September 2017||Movie of the Year||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nominated|||
|Empire Awards||19 March 2017||Best British Film||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Eddie Redmayne||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Won|
|Best Make-Up and Hairstyling||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Won|
|Best Production Design||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Won|
|Best Visual Effects||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nominated|
|Evening Standard British Film Awards||9 December 2016||Editor's Award||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Won|||
|Irish Film & Television Awards||8 April 2017||Best Supporting Actor||Colin Farrell||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards||19 February 2017||Feature-Length Motion Picture – Best Period and/or Character Make-Up||Fae Hammond and Marilyn MacDonald||Nominated|||
|Feature-Length Motion Picture – Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling||Fae Hammond and Marilyn MacDonald||Nominated|
|Feature-Length Motion Picture – Best Special Make-Up Effects||Fae Hammond||Nominated|
|People's Choice Awards||18 January 2017||Favorite Year-End Blockbuster||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Won|||
|Saturn Awards||28 June 2017||Best Fantasy Film||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nominated|||
|Best Supporting Actor||Dan Fogler||Nominated|
|Best Music||James Newton Howard||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Stuart Craig||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Colleen Atwood||Won|
|Best Make-up||Nick Knowles||Nominated|
|Best Special Effects||Tim Burke, Christian Manz and David Watkins||Nominated|
|St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association||18 December 2016||Best Production Design||Stuart Craig and James Hambidge||Runner-up[a]|||
|Teen Choice Awards||31 July 2016||Choice AnTEENcipated Movie||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nominated|||
|Visual Effects Society Awards||7 February 2017||Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature||Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins and Olly Young||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Animated Performance in a Photoreal Feature||Gabriel Beauvais-Tremblay, Luc Girard, Laurent Laban and Romain Rico||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||5 December 2016||Best Art Direction||Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock||Nominated|||
Initially, in October 2014, the studio announced the film would be the start of a trilogy. The sequel is set to be released on 16 November 2018, followed by the third on 20 November 2020. In July 2016, David Yates confirmed that Rowling had written the screenplay for the second film and has ideas for the third. In October 2016, Rowling confirmed that the series would comprise five films. In November 2016 it was confirmed that Johnny Depp will have a starring role in the sequel, reprising his role as Gellert Grindelwald. In April 2017, it was confirmed that Jude Law had been cast for the role of Albus Dumbledore at around the time he was the Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts. The second film will take place in the UK and Paris. Filming for the second film began in July 2017.
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