Harry Potter has dominated entertainment and media for over two decades at this point. Ever since the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, arrived on store shelves in 1997, the franchise was already a big part of pop culture. The brand only grew bigger once the first film came out in 2001. Despite the books being hundreds of pages long, the translation to the big screen was nearly flawless as the quality of each entry only seemed to get better. Plus, the franchise managed to get a bunch of kid actors who were a perfect representation of the books. By the time the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, had hit theaters, the franchise easily made over a billion dollars at the box office.
What made the Harry Potter films so great is the progression of each movie. Of course, all the wizardry and magic delighted audiences across the globe, but Harry Potter wasn’t just an action-driven story that satisfied a wizarding itch. The brand had engaging leads that grew physically and emotionally. It was a true coming-of-age saga that fans enjoyed witnessing from beginning to end. Plus, it wasn’t just the leads that were interesting, but you had a lively and colorful world that featured compelling side characters like Dumbledore, Voldemort, or Severus Snape. Though J.K. Rowling would release Harry and the Cursed Child nearly five years following the conclusion, the saga of Harry, Ron, and Hermione came to a conclusion onscreen. However, there was simply no way that Hollywood wasn’t going to capitalize on their big money-making brand.
Marketing-wise, the Harry Potter franchise was simply perfect. The books had a fondness to them from adults who picked up the Sorcerer’s Stone in 1997. However, it also appeals to kids due to the cool gadgets and wizardry on display. Harry Potter was a family affair that wasn’t afraid to take risks and push the boundaries of its content, yet the product as a whole never felt cheapened. More importantly, even though the story of Harry Potter reached its conclusion, the world surrounding the young wizard was so rich that it also opened up the possibilities of spin-offs. J.K. Rowling made that transition on her own with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Naturally, Warner Brothers opted to do the same and came out with a feature film version in 2018. Fantastic Beasts was a prequel to the whole Harry Potter saga, which focused on the characters of the original series minus the three leads: Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Another key difference is that J.K. Rowling was flying solo in the screenwriting depart in the first prequel. The Harry Potter author has writing credits in the first four entries of the predecessor, but it’s also shared with Steve Kloves, who single handedly wrote both Deathly Hallows features.
There was some buzz in the air, but the question was: How was Fantastic Beasts going to measure up to a franchise that most fans view as perfect? It didn’t. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them got solid reviews, but it was the worse rated Harry Potter film based on the rotten tomatoes score. Unfortunately, it didn’t get any better from there. Now, it could be summed up that the key elements missing are the reason fans didn’t immediately flock back to the prequel. That’s somewhat true as many considered the chapter of Harry Potter over. One of the key mistakes is that the franchise is essentially revisiting the world with arguably less stakes. We know how things end with Dumbledore, Grindelwald, and all of the original characters from the Harry Potter saga. Most fans didn’t care about the beginning, and the other fans noticed the dip in quality in the prequel. Newt just isn’t as engaging as Harry Potter. And his character doesn’t particularly get any better as the franchise moves forward. In fact, The Crimes of Grindelwald only buried the brand even further.
People still love Harry Potter, but The Crimes of Grindelwald only cemented that it was never going to match the quality of its predecessor. The once vibrant and colorful world is now coded with a grim blandness that just doesn’t have the same magic as the Harry Potter saga. Harry Potter killed Fantastic Beasts because it set an extremely high bar that J.K. Rowling herself couldn’t reach in the first two features of the spin-off. Executives wisely brought Steve Kloves back in the franchise with The Secrets of Dumbledore, but by that time it was too late. Even then, the quality still didn’t reach even the lowest rated Harry Potter film. It’s not impossible to make a great film within the world of Harry Potter; however, it would be better if Warner Brothers abandoned this franchise immediately. It’s just not working as the world and characters fail to live up to anything Harry Potter did. Fantastic Beasts won’t be the last time we something from the world of Harry Potter. However, don’t be surprised if Newt and his crew are never seen onscreen again.