Every ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Pitch Meeting

“It’s not going to be a problem at all, barely an inconvenience.”

“Wow, wow, wow, wow…. Wow.”

Rowling’s Messaging about Elections: Fictional Ministers and Mugwumps

It’s the day after Election Day in the United States, so it’s appropriate to make at least a nod of the head to the subject as treated in the fiction of J. K. Rowling.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but, with two exceptions, none of Rowling’s novels or screenplays turn on the subject of electoral democracy and its workings. What Rowling has written about how the Ministers of Magic are elected in her Wizarding World has been in a piece originally written for PotterMore, 2015’s ‘Ministers for Magic,’ and it shares nothing at all about canvassing for votes or the procedures for casting and counting votes. The Strike detective mysteries, too, though Lethal White turns on the murder of a Minister and the sausage-making in Parliament, has next to nothing about elections in it.

The two exceptions, Casual Vacancy and the screenplay for Secrets of Dumbledore (written by Steve Kloves we have to assume according to Rowling’s original plan), are as silent about the actual mechanics of democracy. They do, however, share one message about elections, a note sounded in all of Rowling’s work because it is her core belief, that I’ll discuss after the jump. [Read more…]

How to Save the Fantastic Beasts Series

Yesterday Elizabeth Baird-Hardy masterfully summarized the latest news out of Hollywood about the Fantastic Beasts movies in a post fittingly titled, No More Fantastic Beasts Films? In brief, the word is that the CEO of Warner Brothers-Discovery has lucrative franchises on his mind, wants to work with Rowling to revive the comatose Harry Potter golden goose, and that he hinted Rowling was not interested. He did not mention the Fantastic Beasts movies, which as Prof Baird Hardy noted, is in keeping with the revenues generated (or, more precisely, not generated) by the first three Beasts films.

She ended this post by asking, “If Newt’s big screen adventures are over, will there be book adaptations to connect the dots between the prequels and the beginning of Harry’s story? Do you care?” I think it is fair to say that I don’t care, maybe even obligatory to mention as I haven’t yet read the third screenplay or seen Secrets of Dumbledore. Trapped on a British Airways flight recently, I thought I would have a chance to watch it but the screening technology for the seat-backs failed, a turn I took as providential.

do care, though, about what Rowling writes, so here are my answers to those end of post questions, answers that include a more or less clear path forward to revive and reinvigorate the Beasts franchise. [Read more…]

No More Fantastic Beasts Films?

According to widely reported accounts, Warner Brothers may be shelving the Fantastic Beasts series. With the last two films getting less positive response and less box office response than theFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) - IMDb first one, it appears we may not see the remaining two stories in Newt’s series, or at least not anytime soon.  Some news stories blame controversy or the rumored feud between the studios and Rowling, but it seems far more likely that the issue is financial. According to the Internet Movie Database, the first Fantastic Beasts film grossed $814,044,001 worldwide,  but the second only grossed $654,855,901 and the third $405,161,334. Franchises are supposed to make more money with each installment, or at least have close box offices, not drop sharply in revenue. For comparison, the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone earned  $1,023,842,938 and the eighth film, the second part of The Deathly Hallows, generated $1,342,359,942. Each of the different installments had varying returns, but they all continue to be successful, generating income and running repeatedly on syndication. Warner Bros has cut other projects that were not expected to perform well.

While some outlets are declaring the Fantastic Beasts series as dead as Professor Binns, other stories are focusing on Warner Brothers’ interest in making more Harry Potter movies, with Rowling, if she is interested. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Brothers Discovery CEO David Zaslav says the studio is really interested in franchises and wants to see “if we can do something with J.K. on Harry Potter going forward.” The fact that he refers to her as “J.K.,” rather than as “Jo,” or “Rowling,” is interesting, and he also seems to be confused about the potential for more films about Harry, seeing the franchise as just another cash cow rather than as an adaptation of a book series whose books have all been adapted. Some think Warner Bros may try to move forward with a Cursed Child  adaptation, and some of the the film’s stars and director Chris Columbus seem interested, but the studio’s franchise focus may instead mean that the entire series could be getting a reboot with entirely new actors.

If Newt’s big screen adventures are over, will there be book adaptations to connect the dots between the prequels and the beginning of Harry’s story? Do you care? Thoughts, theories?

Aurelius Dumbledore Going to Azkaban?

Looks like Ezra Miller, poster child for the telegenic teflon celebrity, may finally be going to jail. If the Credence Barebone character rises from the seeming death he is doomed to at the end of Beasts 3 — and you’ll recall the phoenix-like character did exactly that following  his MACUSA execution at the end of Beasts 1 — one has to hope that Warner Brothers or Rowling, Inc., insists on a switch of the actor involved. I doubt that this thespian will be as hard to replace with a quality equivalent as was Richard Harris, the first and true silver-screen Albus Dumbledore, may he rest in peace.

Of course, if Credence goes through sufficient story-chrysalis transformation before his next appearance in the Beasts franchise, perhaps Michael Gambon is available. 

For more on the Miller cascade of woe and self-destruction, go here and here. His arraignment on these latest charges is 26 September.

Just in! Beatrice Groves’ piece on Secrets of Dumbledore, ‘Exit Pursued by Qilin: The Stage Directions of The Secrets of Dumbledore,’ is the cover article in the latest issue of The Rowling Library Magazine. Check that out for some mental floss to clear your head of the news above as well as insights about all things Fantastic Beasts: