On Thursday, Oct. 13, author J.K. Rowling announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the new Harry Potter spin-off movie, will now be part of a five-film series. The news has been met with positive feedback, especially from devoted Harry Potter fans that are eager to quench their thirsts for more of the wizarding world.
Nevertheless, this flurry of emotion seems to mask an underlying issue—a sense that perhaps Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is overstepping its boundaries.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was originally published in 2001 as a fictional textbook in the Harry Potter universe. The textbook, which is a mere 54 pages, was written to benefit the charity Comic Relief and was initially met with minimal media response. Now its name can be found plastered across websites and newspapers as fans eagerly await its big-screen release on Nov. 18.
In many ways, the decision to extend the film to five is just the latest example of what appears to be an ongoing entertainment trend in cinema. By perpetuating the story, Warner Brothers is capitalizing on loyal fanbases, ensuring their attendance in theaters. It’s not that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them shouldn’t be made—it should.
In fact, with both Rowling and director David Yates on board, it will probably be an excellent addition to the series. It’s the decision to extend the movie to five films—to essentially milk a successful franchise of every ounce of profit it has left—that implies a calculated marketing maneuver.
The problem is that while fans may need more Fantastic Beasts to fulfill their Harry Potter withdrawals, the Harry Potter series may not necessarily need it. Countless series, such as Transformers, Jaws and even Pirates of the Caribbean, have compromised their integrity by pushing too far and trying to achieve too much.
If Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is somehow able to initially escape this fate, its allure will surely fizzle out by the fifth installment.