Warner Bros “Has Confidence” in Fantastic Beasts Film Franchise: Is President Trump to Blame for the Delay?

As noted in yesterday’s post about Rowling’s having forsaken her Twitter platform, the production and release of the third Fantastic Beasts film has been put off for a year. It will not be in theaters until 12 November 2021 if all goes according to plan. That’s a long, long time from now.

Three thoughts about this announcement:

(1) The Kiss of Death: Baseball fans know that the worse possible news a baseball team manager can receive is that management has announced their confidence in his leadership. The only time such pronouncements are made, of course, is when the team is losing and fans and media are clamoring for a change, usually the manager’s head on a platter and a ‘new face’ in the dugout. “We have confidence in our manager” usually means “He has ten days to fix this problem or he’s out of here.” Are we supposed to believe Warner Bros Chairman Toby Emmerich, then we he says he’s totally committed to Fantastic Beasts?

‘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.’

Anyone remember his saying anything like that about the Harry Potter films? Of course not. If Warner Bros were really excited and confident about Fantastic Beasts post Crimes of Grindelwald, they wouldn’t have to reassure us that they are.

(2) Why Not 2020? Of course, the delay might have a much different explanation than the obvious thoughts that there is real friction between screenwriter and producer/director about how the films are being edited or that Rowling’s planned slow narrative release over a five film cycle is just too confusing by Hollywood standards and the decision makers want a change. It could be something related to the slate of films scheduled for release in November 2020 by Warner Bros or other studios, say, a Star Wars film or Marvel Universe or DC superhero flick, with which the film-makers don’t want to compete for attention. If November-December is the optimal release date for the franchise to get butts in seats over the Christmas and New Years holidays, then November 2021 is the next best time if 2020 is already crowded.

And, let’s face it, November 2020 is already taken with respect to media saturation coverage because the biggest game in town, which is to say “in the world,” the American presidential election, will take place the first week of that month. No way Warner Bros wants to release a film in a struggling franchise into that kind of headwind. No one in America will be talking or thinking about anything in the months prior to and just after the election other than who will win the White House and why and how followed by analysis of what actually happened. Sorry, Newt, it’s 2021 for you… President Trump wins that head-to-head battle without breaking a sweat.

(3) True Confessions: I was a little disappointed that they chose Friday 12 November 2021 for the release date. Rowling features the date and time at the dead center of the Hogwarts Saga — Harry’s adventures with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest and talking with Sirius in the Gryffindor Common Room, ‘The Hungarian Horntail’ — as 22 November between 12 midnight and 1 in the morning. That signaled the story turn or half-way point in as straight forward a fashion as the return of Phineas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days on 21 December. 11/22 between 12-1, akin to the Vernian 12/21 chiasmus there-and-back-again date was a great marker.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is the story turn for the five film franchise. Couldn’t they have released it on 22 November, say, between 12 midnight and 1 AM? Just for old times sake? To mark the pivot?

Let me know if you think President Trump and American electoral politics are to blame for the delayed release of the third Beasts film or whatever you think of the announcement that we have two and a half years to figure out if Queenie is Severus Snape’s mother or role model. Just click on the ‘Post a Comment’ link up by the post title and share your thoughts in the comment boxes below!


  1. It will be interesting to see if with each new film, we’ll see more of the characters we know from Harry Potter. Now that we’ve seen Professor McGonagall, I wonder if the next movie will feature a young Hagrid, Tom Riddle, Professor Slughorn, or a Malfoy ancestor. Queenie might be a role model for Snape, it’s certainly possible that was aware of her. As for the release date, I wish it was sooner, but I’d rather see a great storyline unfold. Wasn’t there a long waiting period between Goblet and Order of the Phoenix?

  2. Kelly Loomis says

    I wonder if something is going on with Rowling’s health. Maybe she is trying to write the rest of the series and her Strike books. Speculation is ripe everywhere given her absence from anything and everything. Maybe it’s not so much like the Beatles and Paul is dead but she has definitely gone dark on all fronts.

  3. Kelly Loomis says

    Press release about the movie date said, “Frequent ‘Harry Potter’ director David Yates is expected to direct all five films, with the first two being written by Rowling”

  4. I honestly find some of the fan analyses (across many fan sites, including this one, but mostly on MuggleNet – the Fox News of the fandom) on Crimes of Grindelwald far too reactionary. The first section of this article reads as though the film was a complete and utter failure. Let’s be clear, the film did underperform to expectations, but it was still Warner Bros. second highest grossing film internationally for 2018 and the FB series has grossed 1.5 billion dollars for the studio between only two films. This is not a small amount of money. 2018 was also a year in which a Star Wars film grossed less than 400 million worldwide, Crimes of Grindelwald grossed over 250 million more than that film. The sky is not falling. Warner Bros. would be crazy to disown one of their most profitable franchises in an industry currently saturated by Disney’s dominating properties. Let’s all just chill.

    That being said, some course correction is good news! I agree with many of the articles presented on this site, that present a lot of evidence that JK is attempting to craft a much more intelligently structured and interesting set of films than what is then ending up in Cinemas. Anything that can be done to allow time to edit, craft and perfect those stories so that what we then see in the Cinema reflects a more coherent vision is good news for us fans. Lets just try and enjoy the ride a little bit more, rather than becoming a toxic fandom the way others have become. Enough with the doomsday scenarios and click bait style journalism.

  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I heard the other day from a journalist (who is a great HP, but not FB-film, lover) that she is already sick of the Presidential Race… mightn’t a November 2020 release be a refreshing change of focus for many? – not that that would weigh against other reasons for a later date… like the possible preparatory and accompanying FB novels you suggest in another post!

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