Fantastic Beasts 3 will no longer be released in theaters November 2021, as WB delays the movie to summer 2022 following Johnny Depp's exit.
Warner Bros. has officially delayed Fantastic Beasts 3 to summer 2022. The studio didn't wait too long after the main Harry Potter franchise ended to launch the Fantastic Beasts prequel/spinoff. Although the first film largely stayed true to following the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald made the series heavily connected to what was already known. Jude Law joined as a young Albus Dumbledore, Johnny Depp played Gellert Grindelwald, and Ezra Miller's Credence was revealed to be a Dumbledore.
The ending of Fantastic Beasts 2 set the stage for the story to continue in Fantastic Beasts 3, and the plan was announced to make five films in total. This plan called for Fantastic Beasts 3 to be out in theaters in 2020 at first, but it was delayed to 2021 following the reception to The Crimes of Grindelwald. However, that was before COVID-19 forced production to be delayed yet again and Depp's ongoing court cases causing further complications to the filming schedule. Even though filming is already underway, fans will have to wait even longer for Fantastic Beasts 3.
Shortly after it was revealed that Johnny Depp has exited Fantastic Beasts 3 and will no longer play Grindelwald, Variety revealed WB announced another release date delay. The current plan is for Fantastic Beasts 3 to arrive in theaters in summer 2022, but no official release date has been set. It was previously scheduled to be released on November 12, 2021. The news came in addition to the studio confirming Grindelwald will be recast for the third film.
This latest delay for Fantastic Beasts 3 is hardly a surprise in light of the news that Depp was asked to no longer be involved. WB will now have to find someone else to play Grindelwald, which could hinder the ongoing production. Although a quick decision on this front could allow filming to continue and potentially meet the previously set 2021 date, the safer bet for the studio is to delay Fantastic Beasts 3 now.
With Fantastic Beasts 3 exiting Warner Bros.' 2021 slate and entering 2022, the good news for the studio is they don't have any other movie release dates set for the middle of the summer. WB doesn't have a single major blockbuster dated from June through October. Fantastic Beasts 3 could potentially take The Flash's previous June 3, 2022 release date, which is currently unclaimed.
This won't be the first time that a Harry Potter movie doesn't arrive in November, although it is less common. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in June, while three other movies were released in July, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. After the poor performance of The Crimes of Grindelwald, perhaps a return to the summer season (and a better movie) will allow Fantastic Beasts 3 to get the franchise back on track at the box office.