With just two weeks to go, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is stuck in neutral at the exact time it should be accelerating. During the home stretch, we typically see tracking numbers rise sharply. But, as you can see here, the numbers for DUMBLEDORE have barely moved.
For example, awareness is 46%, which is only one point higher than a month ago.
The situation is even more disconcerting on the interest side, where the scores have been trending down. DUMBLEDORE sits at 5.7 today, off from 5.8 a month ago.
Just how unusual is this kind of stagnation? To answer that, we will compare DUMBLEDORE to F9 and NO TIME TO DIE. All three have similar production budgets, and they are based on very familiar IP. F9 opened to $70M last summer, while NO TIME debuted to $55M in October.
Let’s start by revisiting the awareness numbers. This chart shows awareness for the three films adjusted by release date. F9 (light yellow) had 60% awareness when it opened, and NO TIME (dark yellow) was at 50%.
There are two things to notice here. First, both F9 and NO TIME saw steady gains in the weeks leading up to release. Second, awareness for DUMBLEDORE (brown) was in between the two films for several months. But, with awareness stalling, DUMBLEDORE now sits below both comps.
It’s a similar story when we look at interest. F9 (navy) had an interest score of 6.1 at opening. NO TIME (light blue) was at 5.8, while DUMBLEDORE (medium blue) is stuck at 5.7.
So, what does that mean for the latest entry in the Wizard World? For context, here are the opening weekend grosses for the HARRY POTTER films (dark green) and the two FANTASTIC BEASTS films (light green). What’s immediately apparent is that the BEASTS films simply don’t pull in the same numbers as the POTTER films.
It’s also clear that there have been diminishing returns with the most recent entry, GRINDELWALD, opening to $12M less than FIND THEM. Though it’s not charted here, GRINDELWALD not only opened lower, but in the end, it grossed $75M less than FIND THEM in total. With a final haul of $160M, it was the only film in the franchise to gross less than $200M domestically.
Bottom line the Wizard World has been in decline for some time. It also doesn’t help that the very polarizing Johnny Depp, who played “Grindelwald” in the last film, was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in DUMBLEDORE. Plus, author J.K. Rowling certainly has her share of detractors. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see DUMBLEDORE continue that downward box office trend.
Sadly, the lack of 11th hour momentum in the tracking numbers bears that out. Who knows, though. Perhaps the numbers will improve. Maybe the reviews will be amazing. But at the moment, there are major headwinds working against DUMBLEDORE.