The “Fantastic Beasts” movie franchise is “parked,” director David Yates said in a new interview with Total Film magazine. The franchise, headlined by Eddie Redmayne, is a prequel to “Harry Potter” that was designed by author J.K. Rowling as a five-film series. Three films have been released — “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016), “The Crimes of Grindelwald” (2018) and “The Secrets of Dumbledore” (2022) — but the lackluster box office returns to the third entry ($407 million worldwide) led many “Harry Potter” fans to question if two more films would become a reality.
“With ‘Beasts,’ it’s all just parked,” Yates said. “We made those three movies, the last one through a pandemic, and it was enormous fun but it was tough. We were actually filming when there wasn’t a vaccine. Thankfully, no one got sick, but we did have the most detailed protocols in place.”
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“We’re all so proud of [‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’] and when it went out into the world, we just needed to sort of stop and pause and take it easy,” Yates added.
Yates directed all three “Fantastic Beasts” movies, with Rowling penning each entry (she had sole screenwriting credit on the first two films and was joined by Steven Kloves on the third). Yates is a veteran of the “Harry Potter” universe having also directed every “Potter” movie from “Order of the Phoenix” through “Deathly Hallows Part 2.” He told Total Film that Rowling’s five-film plan for “Fantastic Beasts” was never communicated to him or others when they started work on the first movie in the franchise.
“The idea that there were going to be five films was a surprise to most of us,” Yates said. “Jo just mentioned it spontaneously, at a press screening once. No one had told us there were going to be five, we’d committed to the first one… I’m sure at some point, we’ll be back. But yeah, I haven’t spoken to Jo, I haven’t spoken to [producer] David Heyman, I haven’t spoken to Warner Bros; we’re just taking a pause. It’s quite nice. It allows me to do stuff like this.”
“Stuff like this” refers to Yates’ latest directorial effort, the Netflix pharmaceutical crime drama “Pain Hustlers.” The movie stars Chris Evans and Emily Blunt and was bought by the streamer in a $50 million deal.
“Having spent such a long time making films about wizards, I wanted to do a film in the real world and a social-issue driven, but one that wasn’t too earnest and serious,” Yates previously told Variety before the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I wanted to tell a story that was entertaining and funny in a subversive kind of way. I’m moving from a heightened world of J.K. Rowling, but I’m not going straight to kitchen-sink drama. The characters here are so heightened and crazy and the world is so intense.”
“Pain Hustlers” streams Oct. 27 on Netflix.
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