The latest film in the Harry Potter franchise isn’t quite bringing the magic this time around, at least according to critics.
Vulture called “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the much-anticipated sequel to 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a “tedious slog.” Rolling Stone likened the 134-minute feature to an “overload of homework on which we’ll we tested later.”
The movie has earned a dismal 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes so far, the lowest of any of the Harry Potter franchise movies.
Warner Bros.’ “Grindelwald” is the follow-up to 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Eddie Redmayne returns in the role of Newt Scamander, who gets recruited by a young Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, to help track and take down Grindelwald, an evil wizard. Warner Bros. is owned by AT&T Inc.
The movie, which hits theaters Friday, was already mired in controversy over the casting of Johnny Depp in the role of Gellert Grindelwald. Depp was accused by his ex-wife Amber Heard of physical abuse, an allegation he denies, and his casting was met with swift backlash from some fans.
“Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling, who also wrote the screenplay for “Grindelwald,” spoke out at the time, writing on her personal website, “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, 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.”
The Depp situation and mixed reviews won’t bother hard-core Harry Potter fans, according to Fandom, a global media brand that manages fan wikis. Fandom told Variety it had seen more interest in “Grindelwald” compared to its predecessor, with search traffic up 21% over the last movie.
“What these fans are focused on is the deep, deep world of lore. Press and other external factors — good, bad, or indifferent — it doesn’t affect the world of the film for them,” Angelina Fadool, Fandom’s director of content operations, told Variety.
”Grindelwald” is expected to bring in between $65 million and $75 million domestically in its opening weekend, according to Variety. So far, it has made $9.1 million in Thursday night previews, tracking ahead of its predecessor, which brought in $8.75 million in previews and had a $74.4 million opening weekend.
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