Warner Bros. has announced the Fantastic Beasts 3 release date, letting fans know when the next installment of the Harry Potter prequel franchise will be hitting theaters. The new film is set to open on November 12, 2021, which marks nearly three years to the day that the sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opened—one year longer than the gap between the first two movies. Initially, WB had eyed a November 2020 release date for Fantastic Beasts 3, but it was previously revealed that the production start-date was being pushed back to give the filmmakers more time to hone the script and address notes.
Indeed, Crimes of Grindelwald opened to less-than-enthusiastic reviews from critics and ended up grossing about $160 million less than its predecessor at the worldwide box office: $653.6 million vs. $814 million. Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich says the new release date will allow the filmmakers to ensure the story is in the best possible shape before filming begins:
“We are incredibly excited about and have confidence in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ series. We all believe this release date will give the filmmakers time and space to allow their artistry to truly flourish and deliver the best possible film to our fans.”
President of Worldwide Theatrical Distribution and Home Entertainment Ron Sanders went on to praise J.K. Rowling’s worldbuilding while reiterating that this is a five-film story that’s being told:
“J.K. Rowling created an awe-inspiring universe that has captivated people of all ages, taking us on an extraordinary magical journey. Warner Bros. is so proud to be the cinematic home of the Wizarding World and is excited about the future of the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise. We look forward to bringing the third chapter of the five-film series to audiences around the globe in November 2021.”
Fantastic Beasts 3 filming is now expected to begin in Spring 2020, after originally eyeing a Fall 2019 start-date. David Yates, who helmed the final four Potter movies and the first two Fantastic Beasts movies, is attached to direct. Rowling is once again writing the screenplay, after making her screenwriting debut on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
While I admire Yates’s work (I love what he did with Half-Blood Prince), it does feel like the Fantastic Beasts franchise could be in use of its own Prisoner of Azkaban to really shake things up. Perhaps Yates will evolve his style. We’ll see, but as a huge fan of the Potter franchise overall, I’m curious to see how this story progresses.