Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a 2018 fantasy film directed by David Yates and written by J. K. Rowling. A joint British and American production, it is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). It is the second instalment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and the tenth overall in the Wizarding World franchise, which began with the Harry Potter film series. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp. The plot follows Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore as they attempt to take down the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, while facing new threats in a more divided wizarding world.
A second Fantastic Beasts film was announced in October 2014, and in July 2016 Rowling confirmed she had completed the script. Depp was cast in November 2016, causing some controversy due to domestic violence allegations recently made against him, and Law signed on in April 2017. Principal photography on the film began at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden in July 2017. Filming also took place in London, Switzerland, and Paris, and ended in December 2017.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald premiered in Paris on 8 November 2018 and was released worldwide on 16 November 2018, in Real D 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX and ScreenX, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has grossed over $537 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its entertainment value, as well as the direction and performances (particularly from Law and Depp), but criticised the "needlessly complicated, low-stakes plot" while feeling that it was "overburdened" with details setting up future sequels.
At the end of the first film, the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
In 1927, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) is transferring the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from their maximum security prison to London to be tried for his crimes in Europe. Grindelwald escapes during the transfer, aided by his follower and MACUSA employee, Abernathy.
Three months later in London, Newt Scamander appeals to the Ministry of Magic to restore his international travel rights, which were revoked following his misadventure in New York City. While at the Ministry, Newt runs into Leta Lestrange, an old Hogwarts classmate who is engaged to his brother, Theseus, an auror in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The Ministry will restore Newt's travel rights if he assists Theseus in locating the Obscurial Credence Barebone, who has resurfaced in Paris. It is suspected that Credence is Leta's long-lost brother, Corvus Lestrange, the last of a long line of pure-blood wizards. Grindelwald believes only Credence can kill his equal, Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore. Newt however declines, refusing to choose sides, and the auror Grimmson is dispatched instead. After leaving the Ministry, Newt is summoned by Dumbledore who persuades Newt to locate Credence. Dumbledore himself however refuses to take actions against Grindelwald, because, as it turns out later, both seemingly were in a relationship in younger years and vowed not to fight each other. Therefore, he is under surveillance of the Department.
Newt's American friends, Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski, unexpectedly arrive at his house. Most of Jacob's memories from the New York City incident have been retained, as the MACUSA's citywide Obliviation order only erased Muggles' bad memories while his were mostly good. Queenie says she and Jacob have followed her sister, Tina, to Europe where she is searching for Credence. Newt learns that Tina mistakenly believes he and Leta Lestrange are betrothed. Newt suspects that Queenie has enchanted Jacob into eloping to Europe with her to circumvent MACUSA's marriage ban between wizards and muggles. After Newt lifts the charm, Jacob and Queenie quarrel about marrying, and an upset Queenie leaves to find Tina. Newt determines Tina is in Paris, and, ignoring the travel ban, he and Jacob follow the sisters.
In Paris, Tina searches for Credence at a wizarding freak show at the Circus Arcanus. Credence and Nagini, a young female circus attraction who transforms into a snake, escape after causing a distraction. While searching for Credence's birth mother, Credence and Nagini locate the servant who put Credence up for adoption. However, Grimmson, who is secretly working for Grindelwald, arrives and kills her. Meanwhile, Tina meets Yusuf Kama who is also hunting Credence. Newt and Jacob encounter Yusuf and follow him to Tina. Yusuf, Leta's maternal half-brother, says he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill Credence, whom he believes is his step-brother and the last of the Lestrange family.
Newt and Tina infiltrate the French Ministry of Magic to retrieve documents confirming Credence's identity. While there, Newt and Tina reconcile after she learns he was never engaged to Leta. Theseus and Leta discover them and join the search, which leads to the Lestrange family tomb in the Père Lachaise cemetery. Leta reveals that Credence cannot be her brother: as a child, she inadvertently caused her infant brother Corvus' death by switching him with baby Credence on the sinking Titanic, who was therefore spared. Meanwhile, a fabricated trail has lured Credence to the Lestrange tomb where Grindelwald is holding a rally for his followers. Jacob finds Queenie, now seemingly aligned with Grindelwald, in the audience.
During the rally, Grindelwald preaches abolishing laws concealing wizards from muggles, and utilizes future World War II images to justify worldwide wizard supremacy and domination. Led by Theseus, aurors surround the rally, but Grindelwald fends them off while sending his emissaries across Europe to spread his message. Grindelwald casts a circle of blue flame to divide followers from enemies. Credence and Queenie cross over to join him, while Leta sacrifices herself to save Newt, Tina, Jacob, Yusuf, Nagini, and Theseus. As Grindelwald bolts, the remaining heroes unite alongside the immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel to defeat Grindelwald. Newt realises he must join the fight.
At Hogwarts, Newt gives Dumbledore a vial taken from Grindelwald that contains the blood pact the teen-aged Grindelwald and Dumbledore made together. Newt correctly surmises that this prevents Dumbledore and Grindelwald from combating each other; Dumbledore believes it may be possible to destroy the pact.
Hidden in Austria at his Nurmengard base, Grindelwald reveals Credence's true identity as Aurelius Dumbledore, Albus' long-lost brother and the only person powerful enough to defeat him. Queenie uses her mind-reading ability to advise Grindelwald on controlling Credence. A baby bird that Credence had been caring for is revealed to be a phoenix, a bird associated with the Dumbledore family.
- Johnny Depp as Grindelwald
- Jamie Campbell Bower as Young Grindelwald
- Kevin Guthrie as Abernathy
- Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery
- Wolf Roth as Spielman
- Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander
- Joshua Shea as Young Newt (13-16 Years Old)
- Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange
- Thea Lamb as Young Leta Lestrange (13-16 Years Old)
- Ruby Woolfenden as Young Leta Lestrange (3-6 Years Old)
- Thea Lamb as Young Leta Lestrange (13-16 Years Old)
- Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander
- Derek Riddell as Torquil Travers
- Cornell John as Arnold Guzman
- Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone
- Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as Grimmson
- Poppy Corby-Tuech as Rosier
- Andrew Turner as MacDuff
- Maja Bloom as Carrow
- Simon Meacock as Krafft
- David Sakurai as Krall
- Claudius Peters as Nagel
- Bart Soroczynski as Stebbins
- Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore
- Victoria Yeates as Bunty
- Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski
- Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein
- Katherine Waterston as Porpentina "Tina" Goldstein
- Alfie Mailley as Child in Bubble
- Claudia Kim as Nagini
- Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Skender
- William Nadylam as Yusuf Kama
- Isaac Domingos as Yusuf Kama (12 Years Old)
- David Wilmot as Portkey Tout
- Ed Gaughan as French Policeman
- Olivia Popica as Receptionist
- Daniele Hugues as Irma Dugard
- Isaac Cortinovis Johnson as McClaggan’s Friend
- Alfie Simmons as McClaggan
- Fiona Glascott as Minerva McGonagall
- Toby Regbo as Young Dumbledore
- Jemima Woolnough as Gryffindor Girl #1
- Hollie Burgess as Gryffindor Girl #2
- Alfrun Rose as Red Haired Young Witch
- Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel
- Jessica Williams as Eulalie Hicks
- Olwen Fouéré as Melusine
- Isaura Barbé-Brown as Laurena Kama
- Hugh Quarshie as Mustafa Kama
- Keith Chanter as Corvus Lestrange Senior
- Linda Santiago as Credence's Aunt
- Christopher Birks as Young Auror - Auditorium
- Simon Wan as Chang
- Deepak Anand as Wizard
- Sabine Crossen as Mrs Lestrange
- Adam Ewan as Yarwood
- Alexandra Ford as Acolyte
- Jan Freygang as Wizard
- Liv Hansen as Ministry of Magic Witch
- Aykut Hilmi as Shafiq
- Phil Hodges as Prisoner 001
- Adrian Mozzi as Wizard
- Jag Patel as Senior Wizard
- Israel Ruiz as Ministry of Magic Wizard
- Joakim Skarli as Ministry of Magic Wizard
- Johanna Thea as Ministry of Magic Witch
- Nicki Vickery as Senior Wizard
- Unknown as Sebastian
In October 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures announced the film as "at least" a trilogy with the first instalment set to be released on 18 November 2016 followed by the second instalment on 16 November 2018 and the third instalment on 20 November 2020. David Yates was confirmed to direct at least the first instalment of the series.
In July 2016, Yates confirmed that J. K. Rowling had written the screenplay for the second film and had ideas for the third. Yates talked to Entertainment Weekly about the second film, saying "we've seen the script for Part 2, for the second movie, which takes the story in a whole new direction – as you should, you don’t want to repeat yourself. The second movie introduces new characters as she builds this part of the Harry Potter universe further. It's a very interesting development from where we start out. The work is pouring out of her." In October 2016, it was reported that the Fantastic Beasts film series would comprise five films, with the second film setting in another global capital city, and Eddie Redmayne would be returning to all films to play the lead role of Newt Scamander. Yates would also return to direct the sequel with producers Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram.
On 1 November 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Johnny Depp had been cast in the film. Depp's casting received criticism by some fans, due to domestic violence allegations against him. On December 2017, J. K. Rowling posted on her website that she would not reconsider recasting because Depp and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, had previously expressed hope that the mutual agreement would enable both to move on from the controversy and that "the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies." About Rowling's response, Depp said in October 2018, "I'll be honest with you, I felt bad for J. K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that."
Jude Law was cast as Albus Dumbledore after director David Yates decided that the role should be played by a younger actor, not Michael Gambon (who played the role in six of the Harry Potter films). A number of other actors were considered, including Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, and Jared Harris (son of Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films).
The film is set in the United Kingdom and Paris. Principal photography began on 3 July 2017, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. On 22 September 2017, David Sakurai was cast to play Krall, one of the ambitious and sulky henchman of Grindelwald. Law reportedly finished filming his scenes as Dumbledore in September 2017. On 5 October 2017, several other castings were announced, including Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel and Jessica Williams joining in an undisclosed role. Principal photography wrapped on 20 December 2017.
- Main article: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (soundtrack)
James Newton Howard confirmed in November 2016 that he would return to compose the music for the film. The soundtrack was released by WaterTower Music on 9 November 2018.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald had its world premiere at the UGC Ciné Cité Bercy in Paris on 8 November 2018. It was released worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures on 16 November 2018 in IMAX, RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema and 4DX.
- November 8, 2018 (Paris; premiere)
- November 13, 2018 (Buenos Aires; premiere)
- November 14, 2018 (Belgium, Finland, France, Indonesia, South Korea, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden)
- November 15, 2018 (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Taiwan and Uruguay)
- November 16, 2018 (Bulgaria, Canada, China, Estonia, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Sri Lanka, Colombo, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Turkey, United States, Vietnam and South Africa)
- November 23, 2018 (Japan)
As of 6 December 2018, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has grossed $138.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $399.3 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $537.7 million, against a production budget of $200 million. According to Screen Rant, the film needed to gross at least $400 million worldwide in order to break-even.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Instant Family and Widows, and was projected to gross $65–75 million from 4,163 theatres in its opening weekend. The film made $25.7 million on its first day, including $9.1 million from Thursday night previews, an improvement over the first film's $8.75 million. It went on to debut to $62.2 million, a 16% drop from the first Fantastic Beasts' $74.4 million, and marking the lowest opening for a film in the Wizarding World franchise. Deadline Hollywood noted the lackluster critical reviews and lack of desire from audiences to see a five-film series, as well as current competition in theaters, likely hurt the opening weekend figures. In its second weekend the film dropped 52% to $29.4 million (including $42.9 million over the five-day Thanksgiving frame), finishing fourth. In its third weekend the film made $11.4 million, remaining in fourth.
Internationally, the film was expected to gross an additional $188–205 million from 79 countries, for a global debut of about $250 million. It made $10.1 million on its first day of release from 10 countries, including $2.6 million in France and $2 million in South Korea. On its second day of release the film began play in 45 other countries and made another $18.4 million, for a two-day gross of $31 million. It also made $12.8 million on its first day in China, the best of any Wizarding World film in the country. It went on to have an international debut of $191 million, for a global total of $253.2 million, a 2.7% improvement over the first film's debut. Its largest markets were China ($37.5 million), the UK ($16.3 million, or £12.7 million) and Germany ($12.8 million). In several countries it had the best-ever opening for a Wizarding World film, including Russia, Indonesia, Argentina and Brazil.
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 39% based on 263 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has glimmers of the magic familiar to Harry Potter fans, but the story's spell isn't as strong as earlier installments." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". It is the lowest-rated Wizarding World film on both websites. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest of the franchise, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 83% positive score and a 69% "definite recommend"; social media monitor RelishMix noted online responses to the film were "mixed".
Andrew Barker of Variety called the film a "cluttered expansion of the Harry Potter franchise" and wrote, "The film throws plenty of plot twists, loud noises, and multihued magical nebulae at us, but rarely is there much tension, or sense of adventure, or any real longing, just the feeling of watching one chess piece after another being moved into position." Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw gave the film 3/5 stars, praising Law and Depp's performances, but criticising the film's excessive plotting, and saying, "This Fantastic Beasts film is as watchable and entertaining as expected... but some of the wonder, novelty and sheer narrative rush of the first film has been mislaid in favour of a more diffuse plot focus, spread out among a bigger ensemble cast." Sarah Murphy of Exclaim found the film politically relevant, writing, "With the two worlds on the precipice of war, Grindelwald is depicted as a power-hungry populist in an extremely politically divisive time. It's too close to real life to not be terrifying."
Initially, in October 2014, the studio announced there would be a Fantastic Beasts trilogy. In July 2016, David Yates confirmed that Rowling had written the screenplay for the second film and had ideas for the third. The third film is set to be released on 20 November 2020. In October 2016, Rowling stated that the series would be composed of five films.
Differences between the book and the film